The goldmoss stonecrop, mossy stonecrop or goldmoss sedum (Sedum acre L.) is a succulent species belonging to the Crassulaceae family.
From a systematic point of view it belongs to:
S. acre species.
The terms are synonymous:
– Sedum drucei Graebn.;
– Sedum elrodii M.E.Jones;
– Sedum glaciale Clarion ex DC. in Lam. & DC.;
– Sedum krajinae Domin;
– Sedum neglectum Ten.;
– Sedum procumbens Schrank;
– Sedum robustum (Velen.) Domin;
– Sedum wettsteinii Freyn;
– Sedum zlatiborense Domin.
Within this species we recognize some sub species and varieties of which we mention:
– Sedum acre L. subsp. dostalii (Domin) Dostal;
– Sedum acre L. subsp. majus (Mast.) R.T. Clausen, (1975);
– Sedum acre L. subsp. neglectum (Ten.) Rouy & E.G.Camus;
– Sedum acre L. subsp. sexangulare (L.) O. Schwarz;
– Sedum acre L. subsp. tetramerum (Trautv.) Breistroffer;
– Sedum acre L. var. almadii Priszter, (1968);
– Sedum acre L. var. aureum Mast. (1878);
– Sedum acre L. var. elegans Mast.;
– Sedum acre L. var. glaciale (Clarion ex DC.) Duby;
– Sedum acre L. var. glaciale P.Fourn.;
– Sedum acre L. var. majus Mast. (1878);
– Sedum acre L. var. spirale (Haw.) Rouy & E.G.Camus.
The term Sedum comes from itself to calm, for the leaves of some species that would alleviate the pain of wounds.
The specific acrid epithet comes from acrid, sour, spicy, but also pungent, sharp, sharp: acrid or sharp.
Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
Goldmoss stonecrop is a plant with European-Caucasian origin. It is also found in northern Africa and Asia. In detail, it is found from Norway to Spain, from east to western Siberia, to the Caucasus and to Turkey; North Africa: Morocco and Libya.
It is also present in Italy where it grows mainly in the northern regions and less frequently in the south and islands.
Its natural habitat is that of walls, pebbles, cliffs and rocky places, uncultivated and dry land, dry stone walls, etc., where it grows from sea level to 2000 m a.s.l.
Sedum acre is a small fleshy plant – succulent with a herbaceous, creeping, perennial and evergreen appearance that reaches a height of 5 to 15 cm.
The roots are superficial and thin produced by stolons. The plant is easily torn from the ground.
The stem is slender and sometimes prostrate (if it bears only leaves) and sometimes ascending (if it bears the inflorescence at the apex). If the stem is sterile then it is thickly leafy (with imbricated structure) and is persistent, while if it is fertile (with flowers) the leaves are spaced apart and dries up during the cold season (or generally after anthesis). Often the plant forms an extensive carpet (or cushion) as the stems can also be directly rooted.
The leaves are glabrous, fleshy and sessile, arranged in an imbricated spiral very regularly and alternately on the stem. The shape is oval (upper flat, lower convex), rounded at the base (partially amplessicaule) and obtuse at the apex. They have a width of 2 mm and a length of 3 – 6 mm.
The flowers are collected in short selvedge spikes made up of 1 – 3 almost sessile (subsessile) flowers. They are pentamers, hermaphrodites, actinomorphs and dialpetals.
The calyx is formed by ovate – lanceolate sepals (obtuse at the apex) and about 2 – 3 mm long, very similar to the leaves. The base of the sepals extends into a small appendage.
The corolla is formed by 5 star-shaped petals of an intense golden yellow color, erect – patent, lanceolate and acute at the apex. It has a width of 2 mm and a length of 7 – 10 mm.
In the androceum the number of stamens is 10 and they are 4 mm long. They are usually double the petals and arranged on two whorls.
In the gynoecium the 3.5 mm long styli.
The antesis is between May and July and pollination is by bees and flies.
The fruit consists of 5 erect follicles (3–5 mm long) and are arranged in a star shape, the tips of which open when ripe to release the oval-shaped seeds. This is because the ovary forms a star as it grows.
Sedum acre is an evergreen perennial that is also harvested in its natural state for local use as a food and medicine and also for use in commercial skin balms.
It is also grown commercially for use in “green roof” systems in order to insulate buildings, provide habitat for wildlife and moderate the environment, and is also sometimes grown as an ornamental in gardens, where it can be used as a cover. of the soil.
It is a very cold hardy plant, tolerating temperatures down to around -25 ° C when dormant.
In general it is a very easy plant to grow that grows in most soils but prefers a sunny location in fertile, well-drained soil.
It is a drought resistant plant that also grows on rocks, walls, etc.
Under certain conditions it can become a weed and invasive plant.
Propagation occurs by seed. Sowing should be done superficially in spring in well-drained soil and in a sunny position. During the germination phase, the substrate must be kept moist and the young seedlings must then be placed in individual pots from where, after making them grow, they can be transplanted in the open field.
It can also propagate by division at any time of the vegetative season but it is more appropriate to choose the period of spring or early summer.
Customs and Traditions –
Sedum acre is a plant that contains various alkaloids including sedin and sedamine. These can sometimes cause stomach upset, usually mild in nature.
The lymph can also irritate some people’s skin.
This plant can have both food and medicinal and cosmetic uses.
In the food field, both cooked and raw leaves are used. They are rich in vitamin C, but they taste bitter and acrid.
From a food point of view, the main interest in the edible qualities of this plant is as a survival food, as it grows spontaneously in the driest deserts as well as in arctic conditions.
However large quantities can cause stomach upset due to the toxic alkaloid content.
For medicinal use, the plant is astringent, hypotensive, laxative, rubefactory, vermifuge and vulnerary, diuretic, sedative, sleep-inducing and hypotensive.
The sap from the green parts of the plant is considered poisonous. It has traditionally been applied to the cheeks to cause redness (it is the “water of life” in some folk tales) – freshly harvested plants, when applied to the skin, can cause inflammation and blisters.
The plant is considered a useful medicinal remedy by some herbalists, although others do not use it due to the violence of its functioning when taken internally.
The fresh plant made into mush is applied as a poultice on minor wounds and burns although some care must be taken as the plant can cause blisters or skin irritation.
A homeopathic remedy is obtained from the plant which is used in the treatment of hemorrhoids and anal irritations.
Finally, an extract of the plant is used as an ingredient in commercial preparations for skin treatment.
Other uses include agroforestry ones.
The plant spreads aggressively and can be used for ground cover in sunny areas.
The plant, as mentioned, is grown with “green roof” and “green wall” systems. These systems are incorporated into the building structure, providing habitat for wildlife and isolating the building and improving the environment; it is also often cultivated in rock gardens as a melliferous plant.
Preparation Method –
Goldmoss stonecrop is a plant that is used, also depending on the growth area, both in the food, medicinal and cosmetic fields.
In feeding, the leaves are used, which are recommended to dry (even if difficult to dry due to their succulent characteristic) and then pulverize them and use them to add a peppery flavor to foods.
The leaves in fact have a slightly peppery flavor.
However, it is a difficult herb to dry and therefore it is best used when it is fresh, it can be harvested at any time during spring and summer.
In the pharmacy the parts that are used are the flowers and leaves.
– Acta Plantarum – Flora of the Italian Regions.
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– Useful Tropical Plants Database.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (ed.), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.
– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora of Italy, Edagricole, Bologna.
– Treben M., 2000. Health from the Lord’s Pharmacy, Advice and experiences with medicinal herbs, Ennsthaler Editore.
Warning: Pharmaceutical applications and alimurgical uses are indicated for informational purposes only, they do not represent in any way a medical prescription; therefore no responsibility is taken for their use for curative, aesthetic or food purposes.