Rhodiola rosea (syn. Sedum roseum) | ‘Golden Root’, ‘Roseroot’ | Seeds
Rhodiola rosea (syn. Rhodiola roanensis, Sedum rhodiola, Sedum roanense, Sedem rosea, Sedum roseum) is a flowering perennial of the Crassulaceae, native to parts of the Arctic, Asia, Europe and North America. Informally known by names such as ‘Aaron’s Rod’, ‘Arctic Root’, ‘Golden Root’, ‘Goldwurzrosenwurz’, ‘Hóng Jǐng Tiān’, ‘King’s Crown’, ‘Lignum Rhodium’, ‘Orpin Rose’, ‘Rose Root’ and ‘Roseroot’, the species has a long history of use in various traditional medicinal practices.
A fleshy, multi-stemmed succulent plant which grows to a maximum height of roughly forty centimetres, rosea is a dioecious species which forms tiny, summer-blooming yellow-green-red blooms, up to three and a half millimetres long. Plants from western North America which were formerly considered to be Rhodiola rosea have now been relocated to their own, separate, species; Rhodiola integrifolia and Rhodiola rhodantha.
Rhodiola rosea has long been utilised as a food (eaten raw as part of a salad or cooked in a similar fashion to spinach), as well as by indigenous herbalists (including in Chinese and Siberian traditional medicine), notably to treat altitude sickness, anxiety, depression and wounds (such as bites and burns). It’s also been claimed to generally improve physical endurance and even to prolong life – although currently there’s a paucity of scientific evidence to support such claims. It’s also grown as an ornamental – especially in rock gardens – and an extract of the plant is used as a flavouring in some brands of vodka too!
‘Roseroot’ naturally favours colder, rockier regions high above sea level, such as Arctic cliffs and mountains. It’s equally happy growing in dry or moist habitats in USDA Hardiness Zones 1-9, provided the soil is well-drained and it receives a decent mount of sun. Surface sow rosea seeds on a fertile and well-drained loamy or peaty soil, somewhere sunny and with an ideal temperature of 18°C to 20°C. Germination should take anything from two weeks to a month or so and the young seedlings may be transplanted to larger, individual containers once they’re deemed strong enough. They’re also fairly drought-resistant once mature.
All the seeds sold by Arkham’s Botanical were freshly and ethically sourced