stonecrop, common name for members of the Crassulaceae (also called orpine, or hen-and-chickens, family), a family of succulent, fleshy herbs and shrubs mostly inhabiting arid regions in many parts of the world. Among the larger genera are the S African genus Crassula and the genus Sedum with many species native to the United States, most abundantly in the West and Southwest. Members of this family are popular garden, rock-garden, and cemetery plants, e.g., frogplant, live-forever, garden orpine, houseleek, hen-and-chickens, and gold moss. These common names are not consistent: in usage the same name is often applied to different species, and different names to a single botanical species. The family is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Rosales.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.