Spiny Pennywort

Spiny Pennywort


Orostachys spinosa (Spiny Pennywort)

Orostachys spinosa (Spiny Pennywort) is a small, very slow-growing succulent that forms globose rosettes of fleshy, grey-green leaves with…

What is a Perennial?

A perennial is any plant that lives at least two years—though, some officials only consider perennials plants that live at least three years. Continuing to live for at least 2-3 years at any growth rate distinguishes perennials from annuals and biannuals.

These plants may be evergreen, where they stay green year-round. They may go dormant and cease growth for some seasons, but they will continue growing where they left off in the next season.

They may be herbaceous, a subset of deciduous, where they die back to the ground at the end of the season. In the next season, they grow back from their rootstock.

A perennial may be both herbaceous or evergreen if its rootstock is much hardier than its leaves. In these cases, it will be herbaceous in most cold climates, but retain its leaves as an evergreen in warm climates. Otherwise, some perennials simply prefer to die back during the winter.

Perennials may also be woody, where they produce thicker, woodier stems and branches like trees and shrubs. However, the term “perennial” is often used to distinguish trees and shrubs—which are almost always perennials—from non-woody plants that also live for many years.

Colloquially, perennials are plants that survive harsh winter conditions in a local region. An Agave hardy to Zone 6 may not return next spring in Zone 5, but any a Sedum hardy to Zone 3 should reliably return every spring. Technically, both plants are perennials, but only the hardier plants will return the next year in those regions.

In nearly all situations, a succulent is a perennial, but not all varieties are frost hardy. Most succulents will be evergreen, but some will be herbaceous. In time, some succulents also develop woody characteristics as well.

Orostachys Species, Chinese Dunce Cap, Dunce Cap, Spiny Pennywort

Family: Crassulaceae (krass-yoo-LAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Orostachys (or-oh-STAK-iss) (Info)
Species: spinosa (spy-NO-suh) (Info)
Synonym:Crassula spinosa
Synonym:Orostachys spinosus
Synonym:Sedum spinosum


Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs Water regularly do not overwater

Sun Exposure:


Foliage Color:




USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 °C (-20 °F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 °C (-15 °F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 °C (-10 °F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 °C (-5 °F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 °C (0 °F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 °C (5 °F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 °C (10 °F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 °C (15 °F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 °C (20 °F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 °C (25 °F)

Where to Grow:

Can be grown as an annual


Bloom Color:

Bloom Characteristics:

Bloom Size:

Bloom Time:

Other details:

Soil pH requirements:

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:

From herbaceous stem cuttings

Seed Collecting:


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Gardeners' Notes:

On Jan 9, 2010, promethean_spar from Union City, CA wrote:

In winter when exposed to frost the outer leaves will die and the core of the rosette will curl into a tight ball and stay that way until opening up in spring. They look pretty ratty compared to semperviviums in winter, but don't get burned to the ground like sedums. This species grows best in cool weather and appears dormant mid-summer, it grows all winter long when protected from frost in a greenhouse, even with lows in the 20's. Frost appears to trigger them to curl up and go dormant.

Orostachys spinosa produces small numbers of offsets at the base of the plant, eventually forming tight clusters of plants. The offsets are not attached very strongly and root readily.

Orostachys are monocarpic (a rosette dies in flowering), so it is important to keep plants . read more and offsets of different ages to avoid losing them to flowering.

Pennywort ( Hydrocotyle sp. )

Click on images to enlarge

Pennywort is a perennial broadleaf plant with creeping underground stems. One species, lawn pennywort, Hydrocotyle sibthorpioides, is found in the South Coast of California to about 1100 feet (330 m). Another species, floating pennywort, Hydrocotyle ranunculoides, is scattered throughout California, except for the Great Basin and deserts, up to 4900 feet (1500 m). Floating pennywort grows on land or in water. It usually forms dense low-growing mats on wet soil near water or in shallow water. Small colonies can float independently. Floating pennywort is generally considered desirable in aquatic ecosytems. However, because of its creeping habit, it can be problematic in irrigation and drainage ditches. Sold as an aquatic or pond ornamental, floating pennywort has escaped cultivation in some locations.


Seedling leaves in both lawn pennywort and floating pennywort are alternate to one another along the stem. Lawn pennywort cotyledons (seed leaves) are egg shaped and less than 1/12 of an inch (2 mm) in length. They have a rounded to slightly indented tip. The first few leaves are roundish to kidney shaped, about 1/12 to 1/6 of an inch (2–4 mm) long and 1/8 to 1/5 of an inch (3–5 mm) wide, and are deeply lobed at the base. Leaves are hairless and have five to seven shallow lobes on the edge.

Mature plant

In both floating pennywort and lawn pennywort leaves are hairless, stems root at joints (nodes) and leaf stalks have papery structures (stipules) at their base. Leaves are round or kidney shaped, and are alternate to one another along the stem. Floating pennywort has fleshy leaves, mostly 2/5 to 3 inches (1–8 cm) wide, that are deeply lobed or have smooth to scalloped edges, and sometimes have a reddish spot at the point where the leaf stalk attaches to the stem. Lawn pennywort leaves are usually 2/5 to 4/5 of an inch (1–2 cm) wide and are shallowly lobed with finely scalloped margins.


Small white or greenish flowers with five petals cluster on a flowering stalk called an umbel stalk, forming an umbrellalike flower head.

Floating pennywort blooms from March through August five to ten flowers each with their own stalks attach to the umbel stalk, which is 2/5 to 2-2/5 inches (1–6 cm) long, forming a dense flower head.

Under conducive conditions, lawn pennywort blooms almost year-round its flower head is composed of three to ten flowers that do not have their own stalks, but that attach directly to the umbel stalk, which is about 1/5 to 3/5 of an inch (0.5–1.5 cm) long.


The Fruits are flattened and separate into halves at maturity. Each half contains one seed. Floating pennywort seeds are on stalks, football shaped to round, and 1/25 to 1/8 of an inch (1–3 mm) long with inconspicuous ribs. Lawn pennywort fruit do not have stalks, are round, about 1/25 to 1/21 of an inch (1–1.2 mm) in diameter, and have conspicuous ribs.


Reproduce by seed or from sprouts that grow from creeping stems and stem fragments.

More information

  • Broadleaf ID illustration
  • Floating pennywort, Hydrocotyle ranunculoidesCalflora's distribution map
  • Lawn pennywort, Hydrocotyle sibthorpioidesCalflora's distribution map
  • For agriculture: UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines

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Watch the video: Pennywort, Wall Pennywort, Navelwort, Penny Pies, Umbilicus rupestris