Hen & Chicks
"From Ohio Mister Thorn
Calls me up from night 'til morn,
Mister Thorn once cornered corn & that ain't hay."
'Ohioan' houseleek has thick burgundy-red leaves with a golden sheen. It keeps its looks very nicely in winter, when leaves are reddest. For spring & summer, it has a faded green center until it ages darker through the seasons.
The first photo shows it in February still with its autumn & winter color. The second photo snapped on April Fool's Day shows it in the green-eyed red coloration it will retain until autumn.
The strain was developed by Edward Skrocki & registered in 1981. Scrocki lives in Southington, Ohio, & has been collecting & breeding Semperviva since 1960. He also collects old Packards & hearses, & became locally famous for bringing his plants to nurseries by means of hearse. He now has an international reputation for developing popular hybrids.
'Ohioan' is very likely a cross predominantly of Sempervivum tectorum (common houseleek) with S. arachnoideum (cobweb houseleek). The latter portion of its heritage accounts for the barely detectible presence of fine hairs.
The name "Sempervivum" means "Eternal," or literally "always" (semper) "alive" (vivum). The species name tectorum means "roof," the common houseleek being also called roof houseleek, because they have been grown on the roofs of houses since early medieval times if not longer.
This is also why they are called Houseleeks, not because they made the roofs leak, but because "leek" is old Anglo-Saxon for "plant," hence it is the "plant on the house."
Emperor Charlemagne commanded everyone in his empire to propogate houseleeks on their roofs as proof against lightning & fire.
The belief in their ability to repel fire may have been of Germanic origin, but is still believed by rustics in many places throughout Europe, adding also that houseleeks growing on the roof protects a home from curses & sorceries.
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