Herbs & Plants

Sedum acre

Botanical Name :Sedum acre
Family: Crassulaceae
Species:S. acre

Synonyms: Biting Stonecrop. Wallpepper. Golden Moss. Wall Ginger. Bird Bread. Prick Madam. Gold Chain. Creeping Tom. Mousetail. Jack-of-the-Buttery.
(French) Pain d’oiseau.
Common Names:  Goldmoss stonecrop, Mossy stonecrop, Goldmoss sedum, Biting stonecrop, and wallpepper

Habitat :Sedum acre is native to Europe, but also naturalised in North America and New Zealand.It is a low-growing plant that cannot compete with more vigorous, fast-growing species. It is specially adapted for growing on thin dry soils and can be found on shingle, beaches, drystone walls, dry banks, seashore rocks, roadside verges, wasteland and in sandy meadows near the sea.

Description:     Sedum acre is a tufted perennial herb that forms mat-like stands some 5 to 12 cm (2 to 5 in) tall. Much of the year the stems are short, semi prostrate and densely clad in leaves. At the flowering time in June and July, the stems lengthen and are erect, somewhat limp and often pinkish-brown with the leaves further apart. The leaves are alternate, fleshy and shortly cylindrical with a rounded tip. They are also sometimes tinged with red. The starry flowers form a three to six-flowered cyme. The calyx has five fleshy sepals fused at the base, the corolla consists of five regular bright yellow petals, there are ten stamens, a separate gynoecium and five pistils. The fruit is five united, many-seeded follicles. The leaves contain an acrid fluid that can cause skin rashes...CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

A very easily grown plant, it succeeds in most soils but prefers a sunny position in a fertile well-drained soil. Established plants are drought tolerant. Grows well on walls. Plants can be very aggressive and invasive, spreading freely at the roots. 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. 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. Plants in this genus seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits.

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. 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 shad.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Leaves.

Leaves – raw or cooked. Rich in vitamin C, but it has a bitter acrid taste. 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. Large quantities can cause stomach upsets. 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. The leaves are dried and ground into a powder to make a spicy seasoning.

Medicinal Uses:
Astringent; Foot care; Hypotensive; Laxative; Rubefacient; Vermifuge; Vulnerary.

The herb is astringent, hypotensive, laxative, rubefacient, vermifuge and vulnerary. 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. 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. The bruised fresh plant is applied as a poultice to wounds and minor burns, though some care should be exercised because the plant can cause blisters or skin irritations. 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. A homeopathic remedy is made from the plant. It is used in the treatment of piles and anal irritations.

The bruised leaves, fresh or in ointments, are soothing for wounds, abcesses, bruises and minor burns.  Taken internally, the plant, or its expressed juice, has an emeto-cathartic action, and was recommended in scrofulous affections, malarial fevers, and even in epilepsy; however, it is rarely employed at the present day, except, occasionally, as a local application to glandular enlargements, to scrofulous ulcers, and to some chronic cutaneous maladies—the fresh leaves only (bruised) being used—thus applied to warts, corns, or similar growths, it is said to ultimately effect their removal. It is said to relieve “the extreme sensitiveness associated with disorders of the reproductive function” It has been considered useful in intermittent fever and in dropsy. In large doses it is emetic and cathartic, and applied externally will sometimes produce blisters.  Traditionally known as an abortive.  In Scotland, this plant was used in the past as a vermifuge, as a cure for  scurvy and scrofula (tuberculosis of the lymph glands in the neck).  The plant contains an acrid juice, and this has been used in the treatment of cancer, acts as an emetic, and has been used to cure dropsy. An old recipe against dropsy proposes boiling an ounce of the plant in twelve ounces of ale, the resultant infusion to be taken over the period of a day in four doses.  In Poland, as a treatment for a sore throat, it was scalded and applied to the throat.  The juice from the leaves, crushed and applied to cancerous ulcers as a poultice, brought relief and healing if changed frequently.  Rinsing the mouth with a decoction of the herb strengthened the gums and decreased the damage caused by scurvy.  Fried with an equal amount of thyme in unsalted fat, it made a salve for wounds.
Other Uses:
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.

Known Hazards: The sap can irritate the skin of some people. Other reports suggest that no members of this genus are poisonous. The flowers are yellow which suggests that in quantity the leaves can cause stomach upsets.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider


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