About names

Houseleeks (Sempervivums)

in Slovenia

Note: some browsers can't show special Slovenian characters. So I wrote:
S" instead of  letter S with  wedge (pronounce like ship)
C" instead of  letter C with  wedge (pronounce like chip)
Z"  instead of  letter Z with  wedge (pronounce like mesure)

Divji bob, glus"ec, homulica, moz"ek, moz"ic, moz"ic"ek, muz"ic, nastorek, nastran, nastrk, natras, natresk, natrosek, natrsk, natrst, nestrel, Perinovo cvetje, Perunovo cvetje, posiliz"iv, streharica, stres"nik, trdovnik, tresk, uhelnik, uheljnik, uheljnjek, uhovnik, us"esnica, us"esnik, z"vanikelj.

Listed above are some of the most common names for houseleeks in our country, reflecting the usage of the plants. Listed below are some interesting names from other countries:

Croatia c"uvarkuc'a, krovnik, stres"njak, nadstres"njak, us"njak, zaus"njak, us"esnica, nestrel, nestres"
Bosnia c"uvarkuc'a
Germany Hauswurz, Hauslauch, Dachwurz
Great Britain houseleek, welcome home husband, however drunk you be, hen and chickens
France joubarbe, artichaut des murs, artichaut des toits
Italy barba di Giove, carcioffi grassi, semprevivo
Bohemia netr"esk str"es"nÝ
Poland rojnik, samoroda
Slovakia skalnica
Denmark huslo/g, husloeg
Sweden husl÷g
Yugoslavia zec"iji kupus, ruz"a od jezika
Albany lulŰ gue, lul, pil
Norway taklo/k, takloek


We can't say houseleeks are rare or uncommon plants. However, some species or forms of this genus are very rare and local, and some of them are threatened plants. We meet them in nature; we grow them in gardens, greenhouses and at gravesites. In some places, they still grow on the roofs. There were many articles about houseleeks in our journal, mostly about cultivars. In this article, we will concentrate on those that occur naturally in Slovenia.

Jamsek, Kladje pri Krmelju. The owner sais the plant is more than 70 years old.

Bundersek, Trkaj. "Each year one dungfork of stable manure goes to the roof" sais the member of family.

Houseleeks are commonly found on sunny mountain slopes, or where it is grassy or rocky. They are very modest. They grow on various substrates, in nitrogen-deficient soil. As much sunshine as possible is almost all they need.

They are artists of life under difficult conditions. Their Latin name Sempervivum (always alive) suits them well. Not long ago, the genus was separated in Sempervivum s. s., characterized by more than 7 petals (average 12 - 13) that are spread apart, and genus (or subgenus) Jovibarba (the Jupiter's beard), with 6 - 7 petals forming a bell-shaped flower.

Pollen morphology provides another diagnostic character. These two groups of plants are obviously very closely related, and the level of separation is variable according to the authors (one only genus with two subgenera or two separate genera.)