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Botanical Name : Sedum album
Species: S. album
Synonym: Small Houseleek (Culpepper).
Common Names: White stonecrop,
Habitat : Sedum album is found in the northern temperate regions of the world,(Europe. Long naturalized in Britain.) often growing in crevices or free-draining rocky soil. It is not very common, and is found wild on rocks and walls. As a rule, however, when growing on garden walls and the roofs of cottages and outhouses,
Sedum album is a tufted perennial herb that forms mat-like stands. Much of the year the stems are short, semi prostrate and densely clad in leaves. At the flowering time in July and August, the stems lengthen and are erect, occasionally branched and often pinkish-brown.The flowering stems are 6 to 10 inches high, with a few leaves growing alternately on them and terminated by muchbranched, flat tufts (cymes) of numerous, small, star-like flowers, about 1/6 inch in diameter, the white petals twice as large as the green sepals.
The leaves are alternate, fleshy and nearly cylindrical with a blunt, rounded tip. They are also sometimes tinged with pink, especially in drought-stressed plants. The starry flowers form a dense cyme. The calyx has five fleshy sepals fused at the base, the corolla consists of five regular white petals, there are ten stamens, a separate gynoecium and five pistils. The fruit is five united, many-seeded follicles.
It owes its presence indirectly to human agency, and is to be considered a garden escape. The root is perennial and fibrous, the flowerless stems prostrate, of a bluish-green colour, round and leafy. The leaves are bright green and very succulent, oblong, cylindrical, blunt and spreading, 1/3 to 1/2 inch long.
This Stonecrop, which flowers in July and August, is not to be confounded with another white-flowered Stonecrop (Sedum Anglicum), which flowers earlier – June and July – and is an annual. It is a plant of smaller and compacter growth, the leaves shorter and less cylindrical, with less numerous flowers, the white petals of which are spotted with red.
A very easily grown plant, it succeeds in most soils but prefers a fertile well-drained soil. Established plants are drought tolerant, they grow well in dry soils and succeed on a wall. Requires a sunny position. Plants spread rapidly and aggressively 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 leaf or a small part of the stem, if left on the ground, can form roots and develop into a new plant. This species has white flowers. All members of this genus are said to have edible leaves, though those species 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. 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 shaded position in a cold frame, planting them out once they are well established in the summer.
Edible Uses: Leaves – raw or cooked. Usually eaten as a pickle, though it can also be added to salads or cooked with other leafy vegetables.
Parts Used: Leaves, stalks.
The leaves and stems are applied externally as a poultice to inflammations and are especially recommended for treating painful haemorrhoids.
The older herbalists considered the White Stonecrop to possess all the virtues of the Houseleek. The leaves and stalks were recommended and used for all kinds of inflammation, being especially applied as a cooling plaster to painful haemorrhoids. Culpepper tells us: ‘it is so harmless an herb you can scarce use it amiss.’ It was the custom, too, to prepare and eat it as a pickle, in the same way as the juicy Samphire.
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. It is best planted about 45cm apart each way. Strong growing bulbs such as some lilies will grow happily through this ground cover
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