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Common Stonecrop (Sedum acre)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Common Stonecrop
Sedum acre

The plant spreads aggressively and can be used for ground cover in a sunny position amongst plants tall enough not to be overrun by it. Many species of the stronger-growing bulbs such as lilies can grow successfully through it[K].

  • Medicinal Use

    The herb is astringent, hypotensive, laxative, rubefacient, vermifuge and vulnerary[4, 7, 9, 13, 46]. It is considered to be a useful medicinal plant by some herbalists, though others do not use it because of the violence of its operation when taken internally[4, 7]. One of its best uses is as an effective and harmless corn-remover, it can also be used to bring boils to a head, though this can also cause some local irritation[7]. The bruised fresh plant is applied as a poultice to wounds and minor burns[9], though some care should be exercised because the plant can cause blisters or skin irritations[244]. The herb is difficult to dry and so is best used when fresh, it can be gathered at any time during the spring and summer[7].

    A homeopathic remedy is made from the plant[9]. It is used in the treatment of piles and anal irritations[9].

  • Edible Use

    Leaves – raw or cooked[13, 100]. Rich in vitamin C, but it has a bitter acrid taste[1, 244]. The main interest in the edible qualities of this plant is as a survival food, since it grows wild in the driest deserts as well as in arctic conditions[244]. Large quantities can cause stomach upsets[19]. It is best to dry the leaves (which can be difficult because they are very fleshy) and then powder them and use them to add a peppery taste to foods[244].

    The leaves are dried and ground into a powder to make a spicy seasoning[183].

  • Cautionary Notes

    Poisonous[19]? The sap can irritate the skin of some people[76]. Other reports suggest that no members of this genus are poisonous[62, 85]. The flowers are yellow which suggests that in quantity the leaves can cause stomach upsets.

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – surface sow in spring in well-drained soil in a sunny position in a greenhouse. Do not allow the soil to dry out. It can also be sown in the autumn in a cold frame, some seed germinates immediately whilst others germinate in the spring. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. If sufficient growth is made, it is possible to plant them out during the summer, otherwise keep them in a cold-frame or greenhouse for their first winter and plant them out in early summer of the following year[K]. Division is very easy and can be carried out at almost any time in the growing season, though is probably best done in spring or early summer. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found it best to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in a lightly shaded position in a cold frame, planting them out once they are well established in the summer.
A very easily grown plant, it succeeds in most soils[188] but prefers a sunny position in a fertile well-drained soil[200]. Established plants are drought tolerant[190]. Grows well on walls[190]. Plants can be very aggressive and invasive, spreading freely at the roots[200]. If clearing the plant from an area it is quite important to try and remove every part of the plant since even a small part of the stem, if left in the ground, can form roots and develop into a new plant[200]. All members of this genus are said to have edible leaves, though those species, such as this one, that have yellow flowers can cause stomach upsets if they are eaten in quantity[62, 85]. Plants in this genus seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits[233].
E. Europe – Balkans. Long naturalized in Britain[17].

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.