AskDefine | Define stonecrop

Dictionary Definition

stonecrop n : any of various northern temperate plants of the genus Sedum having fleshy leaves and red or yellow or white flowers

Extensive Definition

Sedum is the large stonecrop genus of the Crassulaceae, representing about 400 species of leaf succulents, found throughout the northern hemisphere, varying from annual groundcovers to shrubs. The plants have water-storing leaves and a typical form of blossom with five petals, seldom four or six. There are typically twice as many stamens as petals.
Well known European Sedums are Sedum acre, Sedum album, Sedum dasyphyllum, Sedum reflexum (also known as Sedum rupestre) and Sedum hispanicum.
Many sedums are extensively cultivated as garden plants, due to their interesting and attractive appearance and hardiness. The various species differ in their requirements; some are cold-hardy but do not tolerate heat, some require heat but do not tolerate cold. They are preferred to grass for green roofs, popular in Germany and some other countries.
Sedum species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Grey Chi. In particular, Sedum spathifolium is the host plant of the endangered San Bruno elfin butterfly of San Mateo County, California.

Edibility and toxicity

Sedum reflexum, known as "prickmadam", "stone orpine" or "crooked yellow stonecrop", is occasionally used as a salad leaf or herb in Europe (incl. the United Kingdom) It has a slightly astringent sour taste
Sedum acre ("biting stonecrop") on the other hand contains high quantities of piperidine alkaloids (namely (+)-sedridine, (-)-sedamine, sedinone and isopelletierine) which give it a sharp, peppery and acrid taste and make it somewhat toxic. Depending on the amount consumed, irritations of the mucous membranes, cramps and paralysis, including respiratory paralysis may ensue. In ancient Greece, biting stonecrop was used to treat epilepsy and skin diseases, as well as to cause abortions.

Sedum roofing

Sedum can be used to provide a roof covering in green roofs.


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stonecrop in Czech: Rozchodník
stonecrop in Danish: Stenurt
stonecrop in German: Fetthennen
stonecrop in Spanish: Sedum
stonecrop in French: Sedum
stonecrop in Upper Sorbian: Mydleško
stonecrop in Croatian: Sedum
stonecrop in Italian: Sedum
stonecrop in Dutch: Vetkruid
stonecrop in Japanese: セダム
stonecrop in Norwegian: Bergknapper
stonecrop in Polish: Rozchodnik
stonecrop in Portuguese: Sedum
stonecrop in Russian: Седум
stonecrop in Finnish: Maksaruohot
stonecrop in Swedish: Fetknoppar
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