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Image of Chinese Dunce Cap
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Chinese Dunce Cap

Orostachys spinosa (L.) Meyer ex A. Berger

Brief Summary

provided by Armchair Taxonomists
Chinese dunce cap (Orostachys spinosa) is a slow-growing, fleshy-leafed succulent in the family Crassulaceae. It is found in arid areas in Mongolia, Russia, China, and Kazakhstan and is remarkably hardy, thriving in temperatures as low as -40 degrees C (-40 F) and able to photosynthesize under a thin layer of snow. A fully-grown Chinese dunce cap resembles a sunflower head 10 cm (4 inches) across, with a flattened dome of spiral, tightly closed leaves surrounded by a ring of upright leaves. When the plant is mature, which takes about five years, it produces the conical flower stalk responsible for its common name and dies afterwards. Like other members of the Crassulaceae, O. spinosa copes with arid conditions by fixing carbon using the CAM (Crassulacean acid metabolism) pathway: it keeps stomata on the leaves closed during the day to minimize evaporative water loss but opens them at night to absorb carbon dioxide and store it for photosynthesis during the day. It is the most cold-tolerant CAM plant known. Orostachys spinosa is used in Mongolian herbal medicine, as forage for livestock in winter, and in decorative rock gardens (Oyungerel 2008). 
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Corvi Zeman
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Description

provided by eFloras
Rosette leaves crowded, oblong; appendage white, suborbicular, cartilaginous, apical spine 2-4 mm. Stem leaves broadly linear to oblanceolate, 1-3 × 0.2-0.5 cm, apex acuminate, apical prickle cartilaginous. Flowering stem 10-30 cm. Inflorescence terminal, spicate or racemose, 5-20 cm; bracts lanceolate to oblong, to 4 mm, apex spinose; pedicels ca. 1 mm or absent. Sepals red spotted, ovate-oblong, 2-3 mm, apex spinose. Petals yellowish green, ovate-lanceolate, 5-7 × ca. 1.5 mm, base connate for ca. 1 mm, apex acuminate. Stamens slightly longer than petals; anthers yellow. Nectar scales subquadrangular, apex emarginate. Follicles erect, ellipsoid-lanceolate, base narrowed, apical beak ca. 1.5 mm. Seeds oblong-ovoid. Fl. Jul-Aug, fr. Sep.
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Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, 63110 USA
bibliographic citation
Flora of China Vol. 8: 208 in eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden. Accessed Nov 12, 2008.
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Flora of China @ eFloras.org
editor
Wu Zhengyi, Peter H. Raven & Hong Deyuan
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eFloras.org
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Distribution

provided by eFloras
Gansu, Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning, Nei Mongol, Xinjiang, Xizang [Korea, Mongolia, Russia].
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cc-by-nc-sa-3.0
copyright
Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, 63110 USA
bibliographic citation
Flora of China Vol. 8: 208 in eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden. Accessed Nov 12, 2008.
source
Flora of China @ eFloras.org
editor
Wu Zhengyi, Peter H. Raven & Hong Deyuan
project
eFloras.org
original
visit source
partner site
eFloras

Habitat

provided by eFloras
Rock crevices on dry slopes; 600-2900 m.
license
cc-by-nc-sa-3.0
copyright
Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, 63110 USA
bibliographic citation
Flora of China Vol. 8: 208 in eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden. Accessed Nov 12, 2008.
source
Flora of China @ eFloras.org
editor
Wu Zhengyi, Peter H. Raven & Hong Deyuan
project
eFloras.org
original
visit source
partner site
eFloras

Synonym

provided by eFloras
Cotyledon spinosa Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 429. 1753; C. erubescens (Maximowicz) Franchet & Savatier; Orostachys erubescens (Maximowicz) Ohwi; Sedum erubescens (Maximowicz) Ohwi; S. spinosum (Linnaeus) Thunberg; Umbilicus erubescens Maximowicz.
license
cc-by-nc-sa-3.0
copyright
Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, 63110 USA
bibliographic citation
Flora of China Vol. 8: 208 in eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden. Accessed Nov 12, 2008.
source
Flora of China @ eFloras.org
editor
Wu Zhengyi, Peter H. Raven & Hong Deyuan
project
eFloras.org
original
visit source
partner site
eFloras