Practical ecological knowledge for the temperate reader.

Sedum Sp.- Stonecrop

Family: Crassulaceae [E-flora]

"Perennial herb (annual, biennial, subshrub), generally from rhizomes or stout, scaly caudex, generally glabrous; rosettes 0 or open to dense. Leaf: sessile, generally alternate, generally obovate to spoon-shaped. Inflorescence: terminal, generally raceme- to panicle-like. Flower: sepals, petals generally 5, free to fused at base, sepals < petals, obtuse to long-tapered; petals erect to spreading; stamens 8 or 10, in 2 whorls, epipetalous or not; pistils 4–5, free or fused below. Fruit: free or fused at base, erect or spreading. Seed: many, elliptic, often winged at both ends.
± 450 species: temps, tropical mountains, North America, Mexico, Central America, Europe, Asia, northern and eastern Africa, Atlantic islands, Indian Ocean islands; cultivated as ornamental, green roofs. (Latin: to assuage, from healing properties of houseleek, to which Sedum was sometimes applied) Sedum roseum moved to Rhodiola.
Unabridged references: [Denton 1982 Brittonia 34:48–77]" [Jepson]

Local Species;

  1. Sedum acre - goldmoss stonecrop [E-flora]
  2. Sedum album - white stonecrop [E-flora]
  3. Sedum divergens - spreading stonecrop [E-flora]
  4. Sedum forsterianum - rock stonecrop [E-flora]
  5. Sedum lanceolatum - lance-leaved stonecrop [E-flora]
  6. Sedum oreganum - Oregon stonecrop [E-flora]
  7. Sedum spathulifolium - broad-leaved stonecrop [E-flora]
  8. Sedum stenopetalum - worm-leaved stonecrop [E-flora]

Species Mentioned: S. divergens. S. rosea, Sedum sp. including; S. oregona, S. divergens, S. spathulifolium. Sedum Spp. [????]


"Some people have been known to experience nausea or headaches from overingestion of Sedums. Eat in moderation, especially if you have a tendency toward allergies." [????]

"We advise they be taken in moderate amounts, especially if the leaves are mature, as one of us reported a slight nausea upon consuming a rather large quantity of the yellow stonecrop."[????]"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[62, 85]." [PFAF]

S. divergens, S. oreganum, S forsterianum, S. spathulifolium, S. stenopetalum; "Although not poisonous, if large quantities of this plant are eaten it can cause a stomach upset [62, 85]." [PFAF]

Cyanogenic Glycoside: "Sedum sarmentosum 2/3 confidence [ThePlantList] Contains a cyanogenetic glycoside, sarmentosin which is reported to lower SGPT levels in chronic viral hepatitis." [HPEP]

Edible Uses

  • Leaves
  • Stems
  • Medicinal Uses

  • Plant:
  • Flowers: Used in medicinal teas. [????]

  • Leaves
  • Misc

  • Cultivation

    "In Chinese Medicinal Herbs, Li Shih-chen reports the Chinese planted various Sedum species in flowerpots, and placed them on rooftops in the belief they would protect homes from fire. They also believed the herb prevented famine, thus they cultivated it around their yards on stone walls and rocky outcrops." [????]

    "Friendly, easy to grow, good natured, and tidy are all adjectives bestowed on the stone- crops by author Lewis Clark. These well- groomed plants are members of the Sedum genus. The name Sedum comes from the Latin sedio, meaning "to sit," and aptly describes the plants' habit of precariously perching on stony cliffs and bare rock ridges in a thimbleful of sand, rather than rooting deeply into the habit- able earth."[????]

    Uses of Related Sp.

    Our related species, S. rhodanthum, commonly called "queen's crown" (see figure) has rose-colored flowers- clustered in a terminal head. We have eaten the leaves both raw and boiled for 15 minutes, finding them very acceptable when taken young.

    Sedum Sp - Diuretic: traditionally used to increase urination [Ramzan PESR]

    S. spectabile - (2/3 confidence accepted name) [ThePlantList]; (Ice Plant) - Edible - Leaves & Shoots - "Ice plant is a useful salad plant, with succulent leaves and a mild, fresh, slightly peppery flavour. It is best used as bulk in green salads and can be used to give balance when used with strong-flavoured ingredients." [Crawford FFFG]

    S. anglicum - (2/3 confidence accepted name) [ThePlantList]; Veterinary Aid: Used to treat swellings on horses when combined with Senecio Vulgaris [MPFT]


    Epigallocatechin-3-O-Ga-5,3’,5-tri-OMe - Simple Ester - Sedum sediforum [Anderson FCBA]

    Nicotine has been found in Sedum acre, S. album and S. telephium [Bajaj Maps 2]


    "Yang et al. [112] found that Sedum alfredii Hance collected at a metal-rich mine waste area in China hyperaccumulated Cd and Zn and did physiological research on this species. It is difficult to obtain seeds from S. alfredii, but the growth form is taller than T. caerulescens, and the plant tolerates semitropical climate. Deng et al. [113] found considerable genetic variation in metal accumulation and tolerance by S. alfredii (from 1.1 to 1051 mg Cd kg1 shoot biomass), so there may be hope of developing a higher biomass Cd hyperaccumulator S. alfredii. Xu et al. [114] found that another Sedum species, Sedum jinianum, may also be able to phytoextract Cd from tropical soils. Sedum lacks the exceptional Cd accumulation of the southern France ecotypes of T. caerulescens, but they can grow in tropical environments." [Hooda TES]

    "Although phytochelatins appear to be mainly responsible for modulating a cadmium-phytotoxicity response of plants, a recent study suggests that in the cadmium hyper-accumulating Sedum alfredii plant, cadmium leads to a greater accumulation of glutathione (GSH) rather than phytochelatins—the activity of which is consistent with GSH accumulation (Sun et al., 2007)." [Lichtfouse OF]

    Cultivation & Propagation

    "Stress tolerators are most common in low-productivity environments with low disturbance, such as rock outcrops. Stress tolerators are long-lived, slow-growing plants that flower infrequently and have a variety of mechanisms to reduce their palatability to herbivores. Sedum and olives are stress tolerators." [Beck PELD]

    Journals of Interest

    Sedum acre - goldmoss stonecrop


    "Contraindications, Interactions, and Side Effects (Stonecrop) — Not covered (AHP). “Hazards and/or side effects not known for proper therapeutic dosages” (PH2). Not to be used in cases of GI or urinary inflammation (PH2). LD50 of alkaloid mix 50 mg/kg ipr mus (HH2)." [HMH Duke]

    "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." [PFAF]

    Food Use

    "Some stonecrops are better tasting than others. S. acre, for example, is too acid to be very palatable." [Kirk WEP] "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]." [PFAF]

    Medicinal Use


    "Activities (Stonecrop) — Abortifacient (f; HHB); Diuretic (f; MAD); Emetic (f; HHB); Emmenagogue (f; MAD); Hypotensive (1; HHB); Laxative (f; HHB)." [HMH Duke]

    "The herb is astringent, hypotensive, laxative, rubefacient, vermifuge and vulnerary[4, 7, 9, 13, 46]." [PFAF]


    "Alkaloids such as... or sedamine from Sedum acre (Crassulaceae), are products from further N-methylation and/or carbonyl reduction reactions" [MNP Dewick]

    Cultivation & Propagation

    "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]." [PFAF]

    "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" [PFAF]

    Sedum album - white stonecrop

    "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[208]. Strong growing bulbs such as some lilies will grow happily through this ground cover[K]." [PFAF]

    Sedum divergens - Spreading stonecrop

    Additional Notes: "Foliage looks like little copper-red pearls or maybe jelly beans. Yellow flowers in summer. A native, evergreen stonecrop." [E-flora-1]

    Origin Status: Native [E-flora]

    Habitat / Range: "Dry rocky cliffs and talus slopes from the lowland to alpine zones; frequent in and W of the Coast-Cascade Mountains, infrequent elsewhere; S to OR." [IFBC-E-flora]


    Sedum lanceolatum - lance-leaved stonecrop

    Sedum oreganum - Oregon stonecrop

    Sedum spathulifolium - broad-leaved stonecrop

    Sedum stenopetalum - worm-leaved stonecrop


    Page last modified on Tuesday, March 8, 2022 8:20 PM