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Succulent plants from down under Adventive Plants (Part 2):

Origin, Climate and Coastal Habitats Casual vs. Naturalized The Sedum Group

IV. Origin, Climate and Coastal Habitats

Most of the succulent plants (including the adventive plants) are growing especially in coastal
regions of New Zealand and are advancing just occasionally in the inland areas of course there are
some significant exceptions, especially in Northland, Auckland, Otago and Central Otago. This is the
reason why we will have a closer look at coastal habitats, ignoring more or less the rest of the

New Zealand has a composite origin to a small nucleus of gondwanic origin numerous terranes of
different origins were added contributing therefore to the tremendous variety of its nature. It is very
interesting to observe that succulent plant species from some parts of the world are not really thriving
in the wild (e.g. cacti and other succulents from North America even very invasive ones such as
various Opuntia spp. giving hard times to neighboring Australian ecologists) while others (e.g.
various succulents and xerophytes from South Africa) are very well represented. I wont go too deep
into this it is a very complex matter and partly disputed and contradictory for the most of the earth
scientists (and confusing at times for an amateur like me I would add) - but the origin of the alien
plants is definitely a first rank barrier / corridor for the spread in New Zealand.

There are mainly three regions from where succulent adventive plants to be found in New Zealand
are originating:

- South Africa the very most of them belonging to Crassulaceae and Aizoaceae are growing
in coastal regions as well as in the hotter and drier inland. As the climate of the coastal
regions of South Africa is similar to that of New Zealand (a somewhat more humid
Mediterranean type of climate) is obvious why these plants have a tremendous success and
have spread sometime widely in nature. Some of them have a very invasive nature as
Carpobrotus edulis and Crassula multicava, with different consequences though.

- Mexico especially Sedum and Echeveria species (both belonging to Crassulaceae)
originating from dry plateau or mountainous regions are adapting very well to rocky coastal
habitats of New Zealand. Sedum is a quite successful genus with about 13 or 14 species (and
possibly some other waiting to be discovered yet) present on large areas in both major islands
and due to the high UV levels here even high altitude species are doing well at sea level. Few
Sedums are present even in inland habitats.

- Europe - in a larger sense including the Mediterranean region, Caucasus region and western
continental Asia, but also Canary Islands and North Africa. Two types of plants have been
successfully established over the years in New Zealand habitats alpine plants (such as
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various Sedum species and Sempervivum tectorum) and subtropical plants (especially few
Aeonium species).

The climate is also an extremely important factor as it may act as a barrier on the long run for most
of the alien plants. The coastal regions of New Zealand have a mild climate, most of the places being
frost-free all year round; even in the far south, quite cold and hostile, minimal temperatures of -2 or -
3 degrees Celsius are extremely rare at the waterline (1), even in the most southern parts of Stewart
Island. Hot summer days are also quite rare; temperatures of over 30 degrees Celsius are quite
unusual and usually restricted to the North Island sites and tempered by a strong marine exposure.
The coastal regions are quite breezy at all times which is not unimportant and characterized by
usually high UV levels at sea level even during cloudy days, not to speak that the sun is quite strong
in clear days. All this contributes to the success of some adventive succulent plants. There are some
significant differences in temperatures though between the northern and southern tips of New
Zealand there is a distance of 1,600 kms (almost 1,700 kms if we include Stewart Island); in
Northland there are strong subtropical influences with mean annual temperatures of over 16 degrees
Celsius while in the most southern parts of the Southern Island (Southland) the climate is influenced
by sub-polar weather systems dropping the mean annual temperature to just over 9 degrees Celsius
thats a significant drop of 7 degrees! There are still few succulent plants though, such as
Carpobrotus edulis to mention just one of them capable to cover almost the entire stretch.

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Rainfall is usually moderate to abundant, in most of the regions the annual levels are somewhere
between 750 1,250 mm, but significant differences may be between sites just few kms away
because of the dominant winds and the terrain creating various shadowing areas. In some places (and
only in some of the years (2) ) rainfall can be very high, with levels up to 2,300 mm. It rather looks
very high for plants with xerophytic adaptations (and under normal circumstances it is so), but not on
the coastal line. In the inland, in a different kind of habitat like the characteristic New Zealand bush
a mixture of ferns, conifers and not too high trees and bushes, not too light and keeping the moisture
due to a deeper rich soil more like a paradise for epiphytic plants, its a relatively dark and quite
humid place and its not exactly a place where succulent plants can set foot. The sea shores on the
contrary are less covered with vegetation for various reasons (human destruction of habitats or
natural erosion processes) and due to the sandy or shallow rocky soils, sometimes dominated by
rocky outcrops and steep rocky walls, there is much less water retention if any. Strong winds and
harsh sun are drying out rapidly the soil and usually even after storms and heavy rains the soil may
become dry in a matter of days under these circumstances its not that high really. More, usually in
coastal regions there is a water deficit in the summer months (or at times even short periods of
draught) encouraging the growth and spread of plants with xerophytic adaptations, especially on the
eastern coasts of both major islands. On the other hand there is a quite constant pattern of the
weather systems (generally humid fronts advancing from west, north-west or south-west) so that
there is a significant difference between the western coasts (much more humid) and the eastern
1. 3. New Zealand is a country
of climatic contrasts as you can
see from these maps, and how
complex it really is, with quite
different microclimatic niches all
over the place; just as an example
please note the dark blue spot
in the centre of the West Coast
(Southern Island) with less than
1,400 sunshine hours yearly just
100 km from one of the sunniest
places in New Zealand
Queenstown, in Central Otago.
The mean yearly rainfall map
shows again how huge the
difference between the West
Coast and the East Coast is
especially in the Southern Island.
(Maps by NIWA National Climate
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coasts (dryer); this pattern dominating the weather most of the time (especially in the North Island) is
not only influencing the rainfall levels but also the number of sunny / cloudy days in a year, which is
another factor of great importance for the succulent flora. In the South Island the high Southern Alps
ranging almost from north to south are taking up most of the rain and therefore shadowing the
eastern coastal parts.

Simplifying a lot we can say that the temperatures are decreasing from north to south and the
rainfall is decreasing from west to east these are the major climatic parameters influencing the
distribution of the succulent flora in New Zealand generally on the eastern coast (all the way from
far north down to the south), and less on the western coast (except Northland and Auckland). It is
therefore not that hard to draft a distribution map of succulent plants in New Zealand. On the North
Island succulent plants are growing almost everywhere on the eastern coasts, and basically are quite
spread in inland from far north to south Auckland and northern Waikato, on the western coast there
are significant interruptions south of Auckland except Wanganui Manawhatu - Horowhenua
Wellington, in which they seem to thrive and spread probably because of the strong winds battering
usually the area and of the very rocky habitats. On the South Island the succulent plants are
inhabitating also the eastern coast from Nelson all the way down to Otago (especially Canterbury
Christchurch with a hot spot in Banks Peninsula), mostly following close the shoreline, with some
species growing even in Southland and on the remote and hostile Stewart Island. There were also
significant findings few Sedum species but also Opuntia vulgaris and the endemic Sarcocornia
quinqueflora - in inland locations of Central Otago, from the eastern coast up to Alexandra,
Cromwell and close to Queenstown, probably because of the sunny conditions and usually not too
high rainfall here even if light frosts are frequent in winter. On the western coast there is no
succulent flora at all south of Greymouth (this town is somewhere in the northern third of West
Coast), not even Carpobrotus edulis which usually tolerates prolonged humidity and low
temperatures or the endemic Disphyma australe ssp. australe found even on the remote Stewart

3. 4. Typical rocky seashore habitat at Muriwai (Auckland) with
steep cliffs and grassy plateaus (left) and coastal sand dunes habitat
with trailing xerophytes plants at Whangamata (Coromandel) on the
right. (All photos by Eduart Zimer)
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The coastal habitats of New Zealand are very varied and complex, ranging from sandy beaches
continued in some places by sand dunes to high steep cliffs, banks and rocky outcrops, from
numerous lagoons and estuaries to fjords and salt marshes, with the hinterland having sometime a
very alpine aspect even at low altitudes and starting very close from the seashore, sometime at less
than 100 m from the tidal line a huge diversity offering opportunities and open niches for the
adventive flora with xerophytic adaptations (not necessary succulent) which may establish small but
well settled populations capable of renewing themselves and dispersing without further assistance. It
is worth pointing out that the native xerophytic flora is not that well represented and is usually not a
real competition for the alien flora trying to establish, the only exception in this regard being maybe
the sand dunes habitat.

5. 6. A different type of coastal plateau with light forest and grassy
pastures in Wenderholm, north of Auckland (left) and a typical Rangitoto
seashore aspect with lava blocks, sand, crushed shells and Agropyron
junceiforme in McKenzie Bay Rangitoto Island (Auckland) on the right.

7. Coastal habitat with
sandstone and lime rocks
covered by dense vegetation
close to the waterline. You can
see the strip of Crassula
multicava growing on the lower
third of the rock - Russell
Bay of Islands (Northland), and
you can see also the high tide
mark, just to have an image of
the marine exposure. It looks
idyllic, but it is quite exposed at
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In inland there are less opportunities to infiltrate the well established (and more humid) habitats and
the quite frequent frosts occurring during winter south of Auckland (3), these are discouraging
factors, although alpine plants such as some of the Sedum species and occasionally Crassula
multicava, Crassula tetragona and Portulaca oleracea are present; on the other hand most of the
succulent plants have an opportunistic character (if not invasive) and may find in disturbed area
where to settle (mainly because of deforestation, urbanization, agriculture, public works, wastelands
and earth works of any type), following typically the roadsides or the ballast of the railways and
establishing where disturbed areas are available.

9. There are extremely
slim chances for
succulent alien plants
to settle in this typical
New Zealand bush
habitat humid and
rather dark. Totara
Heights south of
8. Lava blocks and mixed
forms and hybrids of
Aeonium haworthii,
Aeonium ciliatum and
possibly Aeonium arboreum
growing together in Islington
Bay of Rangitoto Island
(Auckland). A paradise for
succulent plants, with a
surrealistic touch though.
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V. Casual vs. Naturalized

I prefer to use the word adventive (meaning additional) instead of naturalized when referring to
alien flora of New Zealand because of its wider meaning grouping together all types of additions.
This term, rarely used in New Zealand after A. J. Healy has used it in 1959, is grouping both main
categories casual and naturalized, which is preferable as the most of the alien succulent plants
occurring in nature in New Zealand are casuals and have a restricted or much localized distribution,
being just an addition to a unique flora. The criteria for inclusion in one or the other category
mainly as described by P. B. Heenan & al. (2002) are:

a) Casual:

- they are passively regenerating only on the vicinity of the cultivated parent plants or if more
widespread is represented by isolated individuals and is not forming populations;
- they are garden escapes persisting for a limited time only;
- they are originating from garden discards and are persisting locally but not spreading sexually
or vegetative.

b) Naturalized:

- they form a self-maintained population, either by seed or vegetative reproduction;
- they occur repeatedly in natural or semi-natural habitats or in urban environments and in
significant numbers.
- they may form very strong populations capable of becoming at least locally the dominant
form of vegetation and restrict or replace competition plants or capable of fully integration in
native habitats.

It is quite hard sometime to include them in one or the other of the two categories as the success of
alien flora depends not only on the characteristic of the species such as invasive character, natural
habitats preferred - or opportunities given and means of dispersal, but hazard plays a major role too.
On the other hand it is in my opinion just a static view as populations of alien plants may spread
rapidly only to decrease on a long term, some of them disappearing completely after some time to
reappear decades later (4). The time given is another very important factor. Two very good examples
the first one Opuntia vulgaris (5) reportedly escaped in nature from two plantations in Auckland
and Waikato and observed and collected on several occasions during the 1860s have disappeared
only decades later, the two known small Auckland populations being located somewhere else; the
second one even if not a succulent plant is Bidens pilosa, so widespread in Auckland area by
1871 that T. Kirk even considered this plant to be native, but starting to decline later on. After few
decades this plant simply disappeared only to reappear after 1975. There are also few species known
for long time but those are now more widespread and considered fully naturalized and that were
previously treated as casual or just mentioned in some papers as occasionally occurring in small print
paragraphs. This means that this kind of cycles may act over a considerably period of time and may
also have very complex reasons, other than the usually accepted invasive character, habitat
destruction or climate shifts and may be observed only when analyzing longer periods of time (6).
Climate changes may be of relevant importance, although this does not seem to explain everything.

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However, in most of the cases and at least regarding the alien succulent flora of New Zealand the
casual level is the maximum they can reach unless habitat destruction is not offering them new
opportunities. A major role is played by the effort of the environmental organizations towards
conservation of habitat. Vegetation control and close monitoring of known populations can provide
an indication of the potential threat these plants may represent for the native biota if their expansion
is not controlled and allow a timely action for eradication of severe infestations.

In rare cases alien succulent plants may have a benefic influence on the natural habitats and I will
mention again Carpobrotus edulis especially for maintaining the sand dunes habitat but thats
rather the exception; no matter how much we love the succulent plants we have to accept that their
place is in their original natural habitat (where we should protect them by all means), and not
anywhere else.

VI. The Sedum Group

Sedum is a very successful group indeed, with small populations or isolated groups of plants
scattered all over New Zealand, and it is quite understandable why these are probably the some of
the most cultivated succulent plants here, and are also coping very well with the climate and the local
habitats. As some of them are alpine plants they have managed to establish even in cooler regions of
the inland (some of them restricted to the South Island only) although the preferred habitats are in the
coastal areas. Sedums are in perfect match with New Zealand climate most of them have already
some degree of xerophytic adaptation and have already switched to CAM photosynthesis. As most of
the plants escaped in nature here are originating from alpine habitats they are tolerant of a large
diurnal temperature range not to speak of few frost hardy species taking up to -12 degrees Celsius or
enduring even weeks covered with snow. Sedums are usually easy to please growing in almost any
medium, some preferring no soil at all and growing directly on rocks, but generally looking for a less
exposed site; if not too exposed to high temperatures (or if they have a good natural ventilation when
this occurs), moderate light conditions (they take full sun, but prefer semi-shade) and a constant
supply of moisture (never dry out completely for a prolonged period of time) they will thrive. Such
pockets and niches are scattered all over New Zealand, especially in coastal and sub-alpine areas
making it easy for this plant group to establish and spread in nature. It has been established that the
New Zealand plants are usually setting seed and having therefore good means of dispersal. Most of
the plants belonging to this group are originating from Mexico and Europe, with few additions from
western continental or tropical Asia.

Sedum acre Linnaeus 1753 [Europe] is known from ancient times and was used by the Romans as a
medicinal plant. Acre means sour and refers the slightly acid taste of the leaves in early morning.
This plant was already known from ancient times and used by Romans and later by monks for its
purgative and other medicinal qualities and is therefore often found growing wild in former sites of
monasteries. Depending on the conditions these plants may loose partly the foliage in late autumn,
leaving just the terminal leaves, which take a rich bronze colour until late into next spring when the
new growth begins. It has typical needs for the genus doing well in poor soils and taking
everything between full sun and light shade. The plant was first recorded in the wild in 1904 by W.
W. Smith and reportedly grows now almost everywhere here in New Zealand, from seashore to
lowland and to montane sites, from Pawakatutu up north to eastern and central Otago in the south. It
prefers shallow rocky, gravely or sandy soils, grows also on shingle and most porous substrates or
recently disturbed such as roadsides or railway tracks or embankments, rubble, rock bluffs or
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anywhere else where the stony ground is exposed of course mainly in the eastern parts of New
Zealand and far less in the humid westerns parts. It is very undemanding and it has spread widely
throughout the country from sea level to nearly 1,500 m above sea level. I have to admit that,
although I know the plant from cultivation, I have never seen it in wild even if reportedly it is the
widest spread alien succulent plant here.

Sedum album Linnaeus 1753 [Europe] has a similar spread ranging from Taipa (Northland) to
Dunedin (Otago). It shows similar preferences to Sedum acre, including the alpine exposure, but it
also occurs in sandy sites and stony riverbeds or even along footpaths crossing bush land. The first
collection was made from embankments near Kowhai Bush (Christchurch) in 1954 by H. Talbot, but
Healy was the first to mention it in 1959. Healy thought that it is already more widespread than the
known collection would have had indicated, but he was considering just the South Island as a
possible distribution area. Today it is known from several collections that it is already widespread
from north to south. Healy is also making a very intriguing remark: It appears to have economic
significance in several localities as a weed of ballast along railway tracks. Some of the first
collections made in the South Island were mentioning Pellaea falcata, Arenaria serpyllifolia and
Arabidopsis thaliana as associated plants.

10. Sedum album growing on black lava and scoria blocks on Rangitoto Island (Auckland).
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Sedum dasyphyllum Linnaeus 1753 [Europe] is another of the succulent adventive plants first
mentioned by Healy in 1959. The first collection was made in 1957 in Oamaru (Mt. Cook) from
small mixed population. It hasnt spread too much since and it still has a localized distribution in Port
Nelson, Mt. Cook, Canterbury and Christchurch. It is established only coastally and grows along dry
riverbanks and railway tracks, and as a particular habit of this plant just in mixed populations
with Sedum acre and Sedum reflexum.

Sedum decumbens R. T. Clausen 1975 [Mexico] was collected as early as 1986 at Britannia
Heights in Nelson by Sykes who published the naturalization of this plant in 1988 in vol. 4 of Flora
of New Zealand and in his 1989 Checklist. However, it doesnt seem to spread too much since and
being collected just from few localities as Goose Bay (Marlborough) and Banks Peninsula
(Christchurch) and also few other places in Canterbury. It prefers the roadsides where it grows
usually hidden between grasses or taller vascular plants. As an alpine plant it obviously prefers a
cooler climate and its distribution is apparently restricted to the South Island. However, two
collections of a very similar plant (7) were made in Wanganui and Wellington, the latter on very
steep clay bank on roadside; patch sprawling down bank among Crassula multicava and partly
overtopped by Coprosproma repens on a north aspect. This plant reminds of a miniature Sedum
praealtum and is also often confused with Sedum palmeri Watson the main difference being that the
latter has more or less glaucous and usually smaller leaves. Plants now treated as Sedum decumbens
have previously been included within a broader concept of Sedum confusum Hemsley.

Sedum forsterianum C. A. Smith 1808 [Europe] (8) is scattered in several localities in Auckland
area, including Hauraki Gulf islands such as Little Barrier Island and Rangitoto. Beever has done the
first collection back in 1978 in Little Barrier Island but the first account of this finding appeared 10
years later, in vol. 4 of Flora of New Zealand. It has been confused several times with Sedum
reflexum in New Zealand as some of the distinguishing characters are evident just on living material
and cannot be preserved in herbarium specimens (9). Although significant differences exist this plant
11. Sedum decumbens,
a flowering plant from
Alfriston Botanic
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has been treated until recently usually as a form or variety of Sedum rupestre Linnaeus 1753, the
main difference between the two being the glaucous leaves of the latter.

Sedum liebmannianum Hemsley 1878 [Mexico] is known from the wild by just a single collection
from a rocky slope in Alexandra (Central Otago) a wonderful sunny valley surrounded by
mountain ranges. As an alpine plant in its original habitat it would have found a good place here. It is
one of the very few adventive succulent plants not sighted in coastal areas yet.

Sedum mexicanum Britton 1899 [Mexico] was collected for the first time in 1966 by Healy in a
wasteland near Heathcote (Christchurch) and was sighted several times after that in Christchurch and
Canterbury areas probably originating from discarded garden waste. It was quite strange as several
small populations were known for decades here but nowhere else in New Zealand although the plant
is very popular in cultivation in other regions too. However, in August 2007 few plants were
discovered in Putaruru (Waikato) on the banks of the Waikato river and also in 2007 an isolated
plant was collected from Rangitoto Island (Auckland), suggesting that the distribution area is
possibly much wider than botanists have thought for decades.

Sedum moranense Humboldt, Bonpland & Knuth 1823 [Mexico] is another alpine Sedum
originating from Mexico doing very well in the sunny valleys of Alexandra and Cromwell (Central
Otago). There were just few plants sighted and collected by Sykes in 1982 and published by D. R.
Given in 1984.

Sedum praealtum ssp. praealtum De Candolle 1847 [Mexico] is another Mexican Sedum
originating from alpine habitats, which is very widespread in New Zealand. It was first collected in
1953 near Whakarongo - Bunnythorpe (Manawatu) but in short time other populations were
discovered so that in 1959 Healy already knew of its extensive colonies formed in both major
islands. It is quite often seen on roadside banks and rubbish dumps but also on coastal cliffs and in
other places in rocky soils or where marine exposure is available. It is an alpine plant though,
reportedly occurring just in the southern third of the North Island and all over the Southern Island
and even enjoying the sub-polar influences of the far south.

12. Sedum praealtum ssp.
praealtum, a small isolated
plantlet growing on lava
blocks surrounded by mosses
in Rangitoto Island
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Sedum x rubrotinctum R. T. Clausen 1948 [probably a garden hybrid originating from Mexico] is
another plant first collected by Sykes (1986, Scarborough Hill Christchurch) who also published
the naturalization of this plant in 1988 in vol. 4 of Flora of New Zealand and in his 1989 Checklist.
It is currently restricted to Nelson, Canterbury and Christchurch where it is occurring in rocky soils
close to gardens. The well known Jelly Bean Plant very popular here in New Zealand is a typical
garden escape; although it is not setting seed the fat cylindrical leaves are easily detaching and
setting roots especially in late winter and spring, forming in time a groundcover of trailing stems.

Sedum spectabile Boreau 1866 [China, Korea, Japan] although known from a 1977 collection of
Healy from a wasteland in Christchurch area was first published by Sykes in his 1988 & 1989
already cited works. The plant is quite widespread in Wellington, Nelson, Canterbury and
Christchurch and it prefers the sandy soils behind the beaches or sand dunes (usually former beach
fronts) but it also following the roadsides and the ballast of the railroads and is also occurring in the
proximity of wastelands or rubbish dumps. A single collection has been done from Wanganui. It is a
very popular plant here, grown in private Sedum collections and in private and public gardens almost
13. Sedum x rubrotinctum, a cultivated plant from my rock garden.
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throughout New Zealand. It tolerates a wide range of temperatures, humidity levels and soil qualities
just enough to have a huge dispersal potential. Generally it stays smaller in nature compared with
cultivated plants but is hardy enough to spread and establish well settled populations. In some of the
plants the flowers are deep pink corresponding to cv. Brilliant, but in most of them the colour is
pale pink to pink. It is quite hard to establish if some of the naturalized plants are the original
species, most likely not as a large number of cultivars were very easy to find in Garden Centers for
many decades. As the plants are propagating only by vegetative means it is very likely that most of
them if not all escape plants are of hybrid origin.

The exact opposite is happening to Sedum spurium Marschall von Bieberstein 1808 [Caucasus
region], which is represented in nature by the original species only, although the Garden Centers and
Flower Shops were offering an avalanche of modern hybrids for many decades. The plant was
collected first in 1982 by Sykes in Arrowtown in Central Otago. Sykes has published the finding in
his 1988 & 1989 cited works. As an alpine plant from a temperate region it prefers the cooler climate
of Central Otago where several collections were made in recent years at Alexandra, Arrowtown and
Lake Hawea.

Sedum reflexum Linnaeus 1753 [Europe] was first mentioned by Healy in 1959 but was already
known since 1954, when it was collected in Andersons Bay Dunedin (Otago); in 1957 two other
populations were discovered in 1957 in Oamaru (Mt. Cook) and Alexandra (Central Otago).
Apparently it has spread since with few new populations scattered in Otago, Canterbury and
Christchurch and since 1984 - a second distribution area in Gulf Hauraki (Auckland) on several
islands including Rangitoto Island and Little Barrier Island. It is abundantly established on rocky
outcrops, railway embankments, roadsides, wastelands and coastal cliffs.

In the end few words about what I think it is a disputed name - Sedum kimnachii Byalt 1999
[Mexico]. This is a recent segregation from Sedum decumbens (and still considered by some
botanists a synonym of this taxon and of Sedum clausenii Byalt 1998). There is one problem though
(even if we accept the validity of this new taxon) both in cultivation and nature it is very often
mislabeled / misidentified as Sedum decumbens or even as Sedum confusum which makes me rather
skeptical in this case. No recent account which might include it as a New Zealand naturalized plant is
known to me except New Zealand Plant Conservation Network ( with a last
minute addition; the plants photographed by Jeremy Rolphe in October 2007 in Lower Hutt, north of
Stokes (Wellington) have definitely a different look from other plants labeled Sedum decumbens I
have seen. However, Sedum decumbens has some degree of natural variability and to put it this
way Im rather keen to hear a second opinion from a different botanic authority. As apparently no
other collections have been done yet other than those recorded as Sedum decumbens (?) outside the
known distribution area of this plant and which probably have already lost any scientific relevance -
it is too early for this; see (7) again.

Additional References:

D. R. Given Checklist of Dicotyledons Naturalized in New Zealand (New Zealand Journal of Botany, Vol. 22, 1984);

P. B. Heenan & al. Checklist of Dicotyledons, Gymnosperms, and Pteridophytes Naturalized or Casual in New Zealand: Additional Records 1999
2000 (New Zealand Journal of Botany, Vol. 41, 2002);

NIWA National Climate Centre - ;

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New Zealand Plant Conservation Network (2005 - 2007) ( );

C. J. Webb, W. R. Sykes & al. Checklist of Dicotyledons, Gymnosperms, and Pteridophytes Naturalized in New Zealand: Additional Records and
Corrections (New Zealand Journal of Botany, Vol. 27, 1989);

E. Zimer Plante suculente naturalizate in Noua Zeelanda (2007) - (Aztekium revista colectionarilor de cactusi - 2007 / 2008 in print).

Further Readings:

D. J. Mahon Canterbury Naturalized Vascular Plant Checklist (Canterbury Department of Conservation - Version June 2007);

Ray Stephenson Sedum: Cultivated Stonecrops (1994).

My Notes:

(1) Just few kms inland can make a significant difference. At Owaha (Otago) freezing temperatures are reached in 43 nights in a year, but just in 3 few
kms away on the seashore.

(2) The El Nino / La Nina cycles have a great influence on the climatic parameters here in the southern Pacific, bringing sequences of warm / cold and /
or dry / humid years.

(3) It is not the freezing temperatures alone, but the association with high humidity levels during winter. Heavy frosts are unknown though, even in
mountain areas of South Island it is not getting below -5 to -10 degrees even during the coldest winters.

(4) What drives the success of alien species will be substantiated in the third part of this series.

(5) It is usually referred as Opuntia vulgaris by New Zealand authors although it sometimes is referred also as Opuntia monacantha, which is the
accepted name. To add some confusion there are also authors referring both names.

(6) A connoisseur of one of the most spectacular aloes Aloe polyphylla (Alan C. Beverly in The Ecologic Status and Environment of Aloe polyphylla
in Lesotho in Cactus & Succulent Journal (U.S.) 1980) is mentioning in his account about plants belonging to Asteraceae family becoming dominant
in high altitude habitats over a period of 200 years. Apparently it has little to do with global warming or human destruction of habitats.

(7) In both cases the collection was recorded as Sedum decumbens (?). However, Flora of New Zealand vol. 4 (the electronic version on is the only source I could found mentioning these North Island collections but does not include them in a
possible distribution area. There is a possibility that these plants are what is now considered to be Sedum kimnachii.

(8) There are two orthographic versions of this name forsterianum and forsteranum. Both variants of the name are inconsistently used by different
New Zealand authors (even in Flora of New Zealand series). I have preferred to use the first name as this was used by Ray Stephenson, who is the
ultimate contemporary authority in Sedums.

(9) Sedum reflexum, Sedum forsterianum and other related genera are a very difficult taxonomic group. The New Zealand plants assigned to Sedum
forsterianum generally agree with the descriptions of the overseas plants but differ in one aspect they rarely retain dead leaves beneath the leaves
clusters as described in overseas works. There is also another significant variation - C. J. Webb, W. R. Sykes, and P. J. Garnock-Jones ex. Flora of
New Zealand (1984 / 2004): Both Sedum forsterianum and Sedum reflexum vary in leaf colour. In New Zealand most plants of Sedum forsterianum
probably have grass green leaves but some plants, provisionally treated here under Sedum forsterianum, are somewhat larger than the green-leaved
form and have pale more or less glaucous-white leaves. The leaves of Sedum reflexum are usually glaucous or occasionally deep green.


All errors, omissions and misconceptions are mine.

Eduart Zimer, October November 2007
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