Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Houseleek, Sempervivum

Sempervivum tectorum

I have this one pot of houseleeks and during winter the outer rim of the leaves take on a faint pink tone. A friend who collects succulents has an enormous range of these mountain loving plants but the finer distinctions between the species seems barely discernible to me. Some grow quite large and have black and purple leaves and others have that fine mesh of 'cobwebs' covering them.The old Dutch common name for Sempervivum is Donderbloom, or 'thunder flower' because to have it growing on the roof was a charm against being struck by lightening. The Greeks regarded it as an aphrodisiac and named it hypogeson because it grew on the high parts or eaves of buildings. The Old English name leac, from the Anglo Saxon became 'houseleek'. Other common names abound , the most interesting being 'Jupiter's beard', as it is under the dominion of Jupiter and symbolizes vivacity; and the very amusing 'welcome home husband however drunk you be'.


  1. You have a very pretty group of houseleeks.I have seen it often in the hills, but have never been able to grow it.

  2. i can't beat them back with a sledgehammer.