need help identifying a plant, may be called live forever

WestEnder(z7 Atlanta GA)May 9, 2005

My mother, who lives in Ohio, gave me a plant that I am now trying to identify. She called it live forever, but the only live-forever plants I can find online are succulents. This is a deciduous plant, possibly a small shrub. She has it growing in full sun, has never fertilized or watered it, so it may grow larger if treated better. But for her it gets only a foot or two tall. It has bright green leaves, an inch or two long, and very flat, arranged alternately along each stem. In the fall she says it turns bright red and attracts a lot of attention. But she's not sure if the redness comes from the leaves changing color or from flowers. I suspect from flowers, because the small piece she brought me last summer never turned red (I live in Georgia). I'm trying to figure out where to plant this, how to treat it, and what it is, and hope maybe someone else there in Ohio will have heard of a live-forever that is not succulent. Sorry I don't have a photo.

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bakemom_gw(z6 Central Ohio)

The only live-forever I am aware of is Autumn Joy Sedum. Perhaps the perennials forum knows.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2005 at 7:17PM
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I think you've stumped the Ohio Panel.

While I love common names and folk names for plants, this is where we always run into problems!

Good luck; I hope you are able to identify it. If you ever get a picture of it and can post it, I'd love to find out what it is!

    Bookmark   May 12, 2005 at 6:13PM
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bakemom_gw(z6 Central Ohio)

I do remember a conversation on the Perennial Forum where someone was talking about a live forever plant and it wasn't autumn Joy. Seriously, toss up a thread there. I'll bet someone remembers.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2005 at 2:54PM
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kqcrna(z6 SW Oh)

2 shrubs that I can think of that turn bright red in the fall are burning bush and Little Henry Itea. Could it be one of those?

    Bookmark   May 15, 2005 at 4:07PM
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ohiogdnr(5b OH)

I have a thought as to what it might be....Kochia scoparia.

It's an old-fashioned plant that shows up once in a while in the garden centers. It's bright green all summer...gets a bit woody. Usually gets about 30-36" tall here.As the temps cool off in the fall it turns bright red. It's definitly an annual in Ohio. It may not turn red in the south until very late when the temperatures turn cooler...far enough south it may just stay evergreen. I'm not sure.

You may want to run a google search for a picture and see if it looks familiar.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2005 at 8:12PM
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WestEnder(z7 Atlanta GA)

Thanks to all of you for your ideas about this plant. I really wish I had a camera. I got excited reading ohiogdnr's dscription of kochia scoparia, but when I looked up photos of it online, it is nothing like the plant my mother gave me. I think I incorrectly described the leaves as alternate on the stem. On looking at it again, they are defintely directly opoosite each other. Each leaf is very thin and flat, by thin I mean not thick, not not wide.

I had already looked up burning bush because it seemed to me that when my mother first gave it to me she called it that, or firebush (which I also looked up unsuccessfully) not live-forever. But it's not burning bush, so I asked her again, and that's when she and my stepfather said it is called live-forever. I really think they are just confused - they're in their 70's and were never great gardeners - and I know she also has a lot of autumn joy sedum, so I think she has remembered the name live-forever and associated it with the wrong plant. Of course I would never say that to her.

Little Henry Itea has leaves with much more substance than this plant, and it also has a noticeable bloom, which this one lacks.

I will try to get a photo with a disposable camera, and will post it on the perennials forum as well. Thanks again!

    Bookmark   May 16, 2005 at 9:52AM
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sunburygirl(z5 OH)

Live Forever was what my late mother-in-law called Sedum varieties like Autumn Joy, Matrona, etc., that form a globe like clump and stand up about a foot or so tall. It was called that because it's tough to kill and lives... well, kind of forever!

    Bookmark   May 17, 2005 at 4:18PM
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cmzpelle(z9 Ca)

I recently spent a day in upstate New York and saw a plant like you describe (I thought in was Autumn Joy Sedum too!). My Aunt said it was called "live forever". I took a cutting from her garden and carried it cross country to So Calif.
My reserch turned up on this very web site a picture that may be the one plant we are trying to indentify. Try this: Genus: Hylotelephium Family:Crassulaceae "Orpine;live forever". Starmoon has posted a photo...see what you think.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2005 at 11:44PM
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lady0khs(b5 IN)

Hi, I was searching the web for a plant that I have that my Grandmother called Live Forever. She gave me a start of it many years ago and I have keep it growning for a very long time. I brought a start of it when we moved and now I have it growing around my deck as a small hedge. It gets pink flowers on it in the late summer and the butterflies and bees love it. The leaves are bright light green and flat and the flowers turn brown and the leaves turn yellow tinged in orange in the fall, which is a very pretty combination for this time of year. It is very easy to propagate, you just divide the root ball in the fall. I was searching for it online, as I thought I might try this plant in Florida. The leaves are sort of cactus like and I thought I might try it, but it will most likely be much to hot for it. I will let you know if it works down there. You can see a picture of this plant at the following web page below. I hope this helps you. Let me know if this is your plant. ;->

Here is a link that might be useful: Davesgarden

    Bookmark   October 9, 2005 at 4:55PM
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The Live-Forever plant is a wild and edible plant that at one time youngsters called the "frog plant" because of the way of one of its fleshy green leaves , after being loosened as by holding it between their tongue and the roof of the mouth, can be blown up like an inflated frog's throat. Our pioneer predecessors went one step further and used the insides of the leaves after they had been cut up or blown apart to apply to warts. The fresh leaves also have a cooling quality and have long been used to soothe burns, insect bite, bruises, and other such irritations. Both the tops and the roots of the plant are deliciously edible.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2005 at 1:28AM
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Dawntnow is the frog plant the same sedum they are talking about in the posts above you? I think I have this plant but did not know about blowing up the leaves. My grandchildren would enjoy that.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2005 at 6:00PM
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WestEnder(z7 Atlanta GA)

Thanks to everyone who wrote in trying to help me identify this plant. This year the plant grew quite a bit, and this fall it did turn red, allowing me to see that it was the leaves that turn bright red, not flowers. (still no camera at my house, unfortunately). Then the leaves all dropped off, leaving very distinctive flat stems. This past weekend I was at a plant store and found the very same plant, so I have now identified it!! There's no mistaking those flat branches; it's euonymous alatus, otherwise known as burning bush. I don't know why my mother calls it live-forever, maybe just because it comes back every year. Anyway, I'm so pleased now to know what it is, and what I can expect from it, that I'll finally give it a place in the ground. Those red leaves really were beautiful, by the way, for anyone who has ever considered planting one of these.

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   January 3, 2006 at 10:38AM
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