'Fuego' Stone Rose;
or, Hen & Chicks
"Be in me as the eternal moods
of the bleak wind, & not
As transient things are--
gaiety of flowers."
From autumn to spring, the color of 'Fuego' stone-rose is the deepest most gorgeous burgundy-red, as shown in the first February portrait, & in the second April photo. In summer it turns green in the center, with only the outer leaves pinkish-purple, until it regains intense redness in autumn.
This variety of Sempervivum is the achievement of German hybridizer Martin Haberer, who registered 'Fuego' in 1979.
Since time immemorial, people have believed semperviva possess healing herbal qualities. Juice of a single leaf plucked from a rosette & rubbed on a bee sting, abrasion, or stinging nettle burn, can relieve pain because of the malic acid in the plant's juices. A vast number of additional curative properties are alleged for houseleeks; although the majority of claims for it are unlikely, some few are plausible.
Medieval names for houseleeks or stone-roses included Ayegreen or Sengreen, meaning Evergreen, much as the genus name Sempervivum means "Eternal." They were associated with eternal health because they were themselves impervious to bad weather, cold winters, or poor soil.
The shape of the rosette additionally gave rise to such names as Jupiter's Eye, or Bullock's Eye, Jupiter having the ability to take on the form of a bullock.
Houseleeks were sacred to the Germanic god Thor, who was identified with Jupiter or Zeus because of their mutual command of lightning; & for this reason houseleeks were planted on the roofs of houses to ward off Thor's lightning.
Some varieties have rosettes more or less all the same size, but others, including 'Fuego,' produce small rosettes off large ones, hence the common name Hen & Chicks. Fuego's larger "hens" produces "chicks" on slim short stems, & any chick is easily removed to start a new plant elsewhere.
Though the old name Stone Roses is not as commonly used nowadays, it remains a good name especially for such cultivated forms as 'Fuego' which turn bright red for autumn & winter.
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