houseleek

houseleek

[hous-leek]
noun
1.
Also called old-man-and-old-woman. a succulent plant, Sempervivum tectorum, of the stonecrop family, native to Europe, having reddish flowers and leaves forming dense basal rosettes.
2.
any other plant of the genus Sempervivum.

Origin:
1325–75; Middle English howsleke. See house, leek

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World English Dictionary
houseleek (ˈhaʊsˌliːk)
 
n
Also called: hen-and-chickens any Old World crassulaceous plant of the genus Sempervivum, esp S. tectorum, which has a rosette of succulent leaves and pinkish flowers: grows on walls

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

houseleek

any of numerous low-growing succulent plants constituting the genus Sempervivum, about 40 species, in the stonecrop family (Crassulaceae), native to Europe, Morocco, and western Asia. The name houseleek refers to the growth of some species on thatched roofs in Europe; "live-forever" indicates their hardiness and durability. Houseleeks usually have thick fleshy leaves arranged in a dense rosette. Small plantlets, or offsets, arise in a cluster around the parent plant. They are useful in garden borders and rock gardens and are attractive in window pots indoors

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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