A typical member of the Stonecrop family, this plant forms dense mats of fleshy leaves, which are stubby, balloon-like and coloured from green to red. It grows on sand dunes, coast paths, rocky places and dry grassland in the West of Scotland and the Western Isles, but is rarer in the East and Shetland, and absent from Orkney.
The leaves are similar to other Stonecrops, being succulent and water retentive. Each leaf grows to about 4mm long and hugs the creeping stems in a dense formation. The stems themselves can also appear red.
The flowers are white with a pink tinge, with 5 tapering pointed petals, 7 to 10 laterally positioned white stamens with pink anthers. 5 fleshy looking pinkish or white pistils stand prominent in the middle of the flower, and during fruiting these become a star-shaped seed pod.
Stonecrop has proven effective when allowed to grow on ‘green’ roofs. It absorbs rainwater and provides insulation from extreme temperatures and sound.