This section is from the book "The Botanical Magazine; Or, Flower-Garden Displayed", by William Curtis. Also available from Amazon: The Botanical Magazine; or, Flower-Garden Displayed, Volume I.
Sempervivum arachnoideum. Cobweb Houseleek.
Cal. 12-partitus. Petala 12. Caps. 12. polyspermae.
SEMPERVIVUM arachnoideum foliis pilis intertextis, propaginibus globosis. Linn. Syst. Vegetab. p. 456.
SEDUM montanum tomentosum. Bauh. Pin. 284.
By the old Botanists, this plant was considered as a Sedum; and to this day it is generally known in the gardens by the name of the Cobweb Sedum, though its habit or general appearance, independent of its fructification, loudly proclaims it a Houseleek.
In this species the tops of the leaves are woolly; as they expand they carry this woolly substance with them, which being thus extended, assumes the appearance of a cobweb, whence the name of the plant.
Like most of the Houseleeks it is best kept in a pot, or it will grow well and appear to great advantage on a wall or piece of rock-work; the more it is exposed to the sun, the more colour will enliven its stalks and foliage, and the more brilliant will be its flowers; the latter make their appearance in July.
It is propagated by offsets which it sends forth in abundance.
It is no uncommon practice to treat this beautiful species of Houseleek, as a native of a warm climate; under such an idea we have seen it nursed up in stoves, while the plant spontaneously braves the cold of the Switzerland Alps.