The taxonomy of this species is very confusing. Firstly, it is often treated as being in a more loosely defined definition of the genus Sedum (as Sedum telephium maximum L.). We are following the treatment in the Flora of China[
] and the Flora of N. America[
] which treat the genus Sedum in a stricter sense and move various species from there into a number of other species, including Hylotelephium[
Secondly, it is also often treated as a subspecies of Hylotelephium telephium (as Hylotelephium telephium maximum (L.) H.Ohba). However, since the report of medicinal use refers originally to Sedum caucasicum, if it is to be treated as a subspecies of Hylotelephium telephium, then the correct name to use would be Hylotelephium telephium ruprechtii (Jalas) H.Ohba[
Hylotelephium caucasicum (Grossh.) H.Ohba
Hylotelephium jullianum (Boreau) Grulich
Hylotelephium telephium maximum (L.) H.Ohba
Hylotelephium telephium ruprechtii (Jalas) H.Ohba
Sedum caucasicum (Grossh.) Boriss.
Sedum haematodes Mill.
Sedum maximum (L.) Suter
Sedum maximum caucasicum Grossh.
Sedum ruprechtii (Jalas) Omelczuk
Sedum stepposum Boiss.
Sedum telephium maximum (L.) Krock.
Sedum telephium maximum L.
Sedum telephium ruprechtii Jalas
Hylotelephium maximum is a robust, perennial plant producing a cluster of ascending stems 30 - 70cm tall from a tuberous rootstock[
The plant is harvested from the wild for use as a medicine. It has been cultivated for its medicinal use in the Caucasus[
], and is also often grown as an ornamental
All species in the genus Sedum (including the closely allied genera such as Hylotelephium and Phedimus) have more or less edible leaves and young flowering stems, though they are not always totally desireable with several species having bitter, acrid or peppery flavours!
However, the plants contain various alkaloids including sedine and sedamine. These can sometimes cause gastric upsets, usually of a mild nature[
]. This is most likely to happen with species that have yellow flowers, though eating large quantities of any species could be problematic[
Throughout Europe, also in the Caucasus and Turkey
Dry stony and calcareous slopes in mixed deciduous forests at elevations from 1,000 - 2,500 metres[
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Ornamental, Wild
Hylotelephium maximum is a moderately cold-hardy plant, tolerating temperatures down to around -20°c when dormant[
Prefers a sunny position but also succeeds in some shade. Grows best in a well-drained soil that retains some moisture during the growing season, though it is also drought tolerant once established[
This species has pink to reddish flowers. All members of this genus are said to have edible leaves, though those species that have yellow flowers can cause stomach upsets if they are eaten in quantity[
Plants in this genus seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits[
We have no specific mention of edibility for this species but, in general, the leaves of all members of this genus are edible, though not always very desirable[
]. Some caution should be employed however, particularly if the plant has yellow flowers - see the notes above on toxicity[
The plant is used medicinally in the Caucasus (as Sedum caucasicum, which is a synonym of Hylotelephium maximum ruprechtii)[
Seed - surface sow in spring in well-drained soil in a sunny position in a greenhouse. Do not allow the soil to dry out. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. If sufficient growth is made, it is possible to plant them out during the summer, otherwise keep them in a cold-frame or greenhouse for their first winter and plant them out in early summer of the following year[
Division is very easy and can be carried out at almost any time in the growing season, though is probably best done in spring or early summer. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found it best to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in a lightly shaded position in a cold frame, planting them out once they are well established in the summer.