This section is from the book "A Manual Of Weeds", by Ada E. Georgia. Also available from Amazon: A Manual Of Weeds.
Introduced. Perennial. Propagates by seeds, by tubers, and by rooting at the joints.
Time of bloom: June to September.
Seed-time: August to October.
Range: Quebec to Ontario and Michigan, southward to Maryland.
Habitat: Fields, roadsides, waste places.
An escape from gardens, and a most pernicious weed when out of bounds. The tuberous, fleshy, white roots are attached to the stems by small necks, and if even a very little one is broken off it sprouts a stalk and continues to thrive; broken stalks become slips, which put forth roots and form new plants.
Stem six inches to two feet in height, round, stout, smooth, erect, very leafy, often purplish. Leaves alternate, long obovate or the upper ones oval, thick, light green, bluntly toothed, sessile or the lowermost with petioles. By careful lateral pressure with the finger-tips the two surfaces of a leaf may be separated, making a "purse," or "pudding-bag." Flowers purple, in a dense, compound cyme at the summit of the stalk; each blossom about a half-inch broad, with five petals, rather thick, ovate, acute, twice as long as the sepals; stamens ten; carpels five, tipped with a persistent style, very short. Seeds small, seldom produced, the plant spreading almost entirely by its tuberous rootstocks. (Fig. .144.)
Deep cutting in midsummer, salt or carbolic acid being applied to the shorn surfaces. Sheep will graze the plants down, particularly if strewn with a little salt. There is a fungous disease that attacks and kills the weed, and diseased plants may be used for the purpose of infection and destruction. The writer once killed a small patch in a cemetery with kerosene oil, but the ground was made sterile and resodding was necessary. Caustic soda would be equally effective and leach away more quickly.
Fig. 144. - Common Orpine or Live-forever (Sedum pur-pureum). X 1/8.