Common Stonecrop - Sedum acre Common Stonecrop - Sedum acre

Herb: Common Stonecrop

Latin name: Sedum acre

Family: Crassulaceae (Stonecrop Family)

Medicinal use of Common Stonecrop:

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.

Description of the plant:


5 cm
(2 inches)

to July

Habitat of the herb:

Dry sunny situations on rocks, roofs, walls etc, especially near the sea. Often found on limestone hills, it avoids acid soils.

Edible parts of Common Stonecrop:

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.

Other uses of the herb:

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.

Propagation of Common Stonecrop:

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 shaded position in a cold frame, planting them out once they are well established in the summer.

Cultivation of the herb:

Dry sunny situations on rocks, roofs, walls etc, especially near the sea. Often found on limestone hills, it avoids acid soils.

Known hazards of Sedum acre:

Poisonous? 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.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.