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U.S. Forest Service

Plant of the Week

Map of the United States showing states. States are colored green where the species may be found. Sedum pulchellum range map. USDA PLANTS Database.

Widow’s Cross (Sedum pulchellum) Sedum pulchellum. Photo by Elizabeth Raikes.

Widow’s Cross (Sedum pulchellum) habitat Sedum pulchellum. Photo by Elizabeth Raikes.

Widow’s Cross (Sedum pulchellum) habitat Sedum pulchellum along a roadside. Photo by Elizabeth Raikes.

Widow’s Cross (Sedum pulchellum) habitat Sedum pulchellum cluster. Photo by Elizabeth Raikes.

Widow’s Cross (Sedum pulchellum)

By Robert Arndt

Widow’s cross has been known to occur from Ohio south to the Gulf coast, west to Texas, and north to Kansas, except Louisiana, Florida, and Indiana (USDA NRCS Plants Database). It is known to grow in dry thin soils, in rock crevices and bluffs, and it is often found in large mats on gravel road shoulders (Chester and Ellis). It is also known as rockmoss, rosy stonecrop, and pink stonecrop.

This species has an upright flowering stem with clusters of flowers on 4 to 7 forked branches, and flowers are usually 3/8 inches wide and star-shaped with 5 petals (Barnes and Francis). This native flowering plant is a winter annual that blooms from April to May, can grow between 4 to 12 inches tall, and the leaves of certain closely related European species are sometimes used in salads (Duncan and Foote).

For More Information

  • PLANTS Profile - Sedum pulchellum, widow’s cross
  • Barnes, T.G. and S.W. Francis. 2004. Wildflowers and Ferns of Kentucky. The University Press of Kentucky, Louisville, Kentucky.
  • Chester, E.W. and W.H. Ellis. 2000. Wildflowers of the Land Between The Lakes Region, Kentucky and Tennessee. Second Edition. The Center for Field Biology, Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, Tennessee.
  • Duncan, W.H. and L.E. Foote. 1975. Wildflowers of the Southeastern United States. The University of Georgia Press, Athens, Georgia.