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  Text by: Betty McGuire  

Three-leaved Stonecrop
Sedum ternatum
Stonecrop family, Crassulaceae

Sedum ternatum is a perennial from the taxonomic family Crassulaceae. This plant species is native to the Eastern United States and can be found in zones 4 through 8. A low-growth plant species, its height ranges from 0.35 to 0.50 feet and spreads up to 0.75 feet. Categorized as groundcover, this attractive plant is recommended to fill in areas of empty growth in gardens or home landscape projects.

The three-leaved stonecrop does not need full sun to prosper, and it actually prefers partial sun to light shade. Species from the sedum genus also like well-drained soils that are loamy or rocky and would even thrive in a rock garden. They can be found naturally occurring along the banks of streams where they spread over rock. Because of their leaves and stems, they are also relatively resistant to drought as they are adept at storing water. Over winter, these plants die and leave behind new roots that have separated from the mother plant. They return in spring (April-June) with a tiny white bloom of star-like flowers.

Bees are often attracted to the flower nectar and pollen of this plant, with Andrena forbesii as just one example. The leaves of the plant also provide food for various insects such as the Sedum Aphid and the Aphis acrita, and the roots provide a feast for Eastern Chipmunks.