This extremely hardy plant and member of the Stonecrop family grows on sea cliffs especially in the North and West, and on mountain rocks. It is also classified as Rhodiola rosea in some plant lists. It can grow in very cold climates and has been found growing as far north as the Arctic.
It has thick flat, bluish-green leaves about 1 – 4 cm long, resembling succulent and water-retentive Sedum leaves, which is why it does so well in rocky, drought-prone areas. The smooth, flat, fleshy and oval leaves are stalk-less and sharp tipped. They grow abundantly stacked up the erect and upright stems. The root stock is a thick tuberous type and smells like a rose when crushed.
The plants are male or female. The male flowers have petals longer than the sepals. The female flowers have petals equalling the sepals in length, and develop into orange seed pods. The flower heads of both male and female plants are a dense half-globe of tiny yellow flowers, each flower about 1cm in diameter.
In the past Roseroot has been processed to make perfume, and used in herbal medicine.