I know you’re thinking, “Oh my God! What IS that? It’s red!”
If so, you may be a plant geek like me.
I had the very same reaction when I saw photos of it in my copy of Favorite Wildflower Walks in Georgia after it was gifted to me on my very first weekend here. I couldn’t wait to see this unique little plant in person.
Elf Orpine or Small’s Stonecrop (Diamorpha smallii) is a succulent that grows on granite outcrops in the Southeastern US.
We first went looking for it back in late September… it’s a winter annual, so it was still dormant on that first try. The cool and moist weather of the Georgia “winter” allow it to germinate when conditions are most favorable for the seeds to survive.
The plants are getting ready, now, to shoot up and flower in the early Spring.
(I’m not too sure, yet, when Spring hits here, but I’m guessing they’ll flower in mid-March.)
I can only imagine how hot the rock on Arabia Mountain must get in summertime. It makes sense for these plants to sprout, grow, flower and set seed before the summer furnace comes on, I’d guess.
Elf Orpine grows here in shallow depressions in the granite, in very little soil. It’s part of a small community of specially adapted plants that grow in the hollows, in something like dish gardens on the rock surface. Fascinating and pretty spectacular to see when blooming, I bet.