An Eco-sustainable World
HerbaceousSpecies Plant

Umbilicus rupestris

Umbilicus rupestris

The navelwort or penny-pies or wall pennywort (Umbilicus rupestris (Salisb.) Dandy, 1948) is a herbaceous species belonging to the Crassulaceae family.

Systematics –
From a systematic point of view it belongs to:
Eukaryota Domain,
Kingdom Plantae,
Subarign Tracheobionta,
Spermatophyta superdivision,
Magnoliophyta Division,
Magnoliopsida class,
Subclass Rosidae,
Rosales Order,
Crassulaceae family,
Sempervivoideae subfamily,
Genus Umbilicus,
U. rupestris species.
Basionimo is the term:
– Cotyledon rupestris Salisb ..
The terms are synonymous:
– Cotyledon lutea Salisb., 1796;
– Cotyledon neglecta Cout.;
– Cotyledon ombilicus Lam.;
– Cotyledon pendulina (DC.) Batt.;
– Cotyledon pendulina (DC.) Vierh.;
– Cotyledon tuberosa (L.) Halácsy;
– Cotyledon umbilicata Lam.;
– Cotyledon umbilicifolia Stokes;
– Cotyledon umbilicus-veneris L.;
– Cotyledon umbilicus-veneris f. deflexa (Pomel) Batt.;
– Cotyledon umbilicus-veneris subsp. pendulina (DC.) Batt.;
– Cotyledon umbilicus-veneris var. deflexa (Pomel) Maire;
– Cotyledon umbilicus-veneris var. patula (Pomel) Maire;
– Cotyledon umbilicus-veneris var. tuberosa L.;
– Cotyliphyllum erectum Link;
– Cotyliphyllum umbilicus Link;
– Umbilicus aetneus Tornab.;
– Umbilicus deflexus Pomel;
– Umbilicus neglectus (Cout.) Rothm. & P.Silva;
– Umbilicus patulus Pomel;
– Umbilicus pendulinus (DC.) DC.;
– Umbilicus pendulinus var. truncatus Wolley-Dod;
– Umbilicus pendulinus var. velenovskyi Rohlena;
– Umbilicus pendulinus var. velenovskyi Rohlena ex Jacobsen;
– Umbilicus rupestris subsp. rupestris;
– Umbilicus rupestris var. truncatus (Wolley-Dod) G.D.Rowley;
– Umbilicus rupestris var. velenovskyi (Rohlena ex Jacobsen) G.D.Rowley;
– Umbilicus simplex K.Koch;
– Umbilicus umbilicatus (Lam.) Breistr.;
– Umbilicus vulgaris Batt. & Trab..

Etymology –
The term Umbilicus comes from umbilicus umbilicus: due to the shape of the centrally depressed, umbilicated leaves.
The specific epithet rupestris comes from rupes rupe, rock: that is, a typical plant of rocks.

Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
The navelwort is a succulent plant native to the Mediterranean Basin.
Its growth range is in the south and west of Europe, often growing on shaded walls or in humid rock crevices on the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts, but with large inland penetrations.
Its habitat is that of lithosols, preferably siliceous, humid, shady and fresh made up of walls and rock crevices from the plain up to 1200 m.

Description –
Umbilicus rupestris is a perennial herbaceous plant, hermaphrodite, hairless, 10-60 cm tall. it has a tuberous, subglobose rhizome and an erect, cylindrical stem, generally unbranched.
The leaves are whole, fleshy, alternate; the basal ones supported in the center by a long petiole (4-20 cm), have the orbicular lamina, concave in the center, and with crenate margins; the cauline, not very numerous, decrease upwards and vary in shape from subspatolate to lanceolate and cuneiform with toothed and sometimes linear margins.
The inflorescence has a simple terminal raceme that occupies most of the stem (from 1/2 to 3/4), generally unilateral, with linear bracts equal to or longer than the peduncles.
The flowers are pendulous, up to 1 cm long, carried by 3-9 mm peduncles, have a calyx with 5 ovate and subacute lobes welded to the base, a white-greenish or straw-colored corolla, sometimes suffused with pink, tubular or sub- campanulata with triangular-ovate and mucronate laciniae, welded into a tube 4 times longer; stamens 10 welded to the corolline tube, ovary superior with 5 free carpels and a single short stylus.
The fruit is a follicet composed of 5 follicles, with numerous small ovoid or elliptical seeds, dark brown in color.

Cultivation –
Umbilicus rupestris is a perennial and edible succulent plant that grows in southern and western Europe, often growing on shady walls or in humid rocky crevices where its succulent leaves develop in rosettes.
This plant can be grown for food, medicine and even for the formation of rock gardens.
It also grows on poor and limited thickness substrates.
Its propagation can take place both by seed and by agamic division of part of the plant.

Customs and Traditions –
Umbilicus rupestris is a plant used both in food and medicine and, in some cases, also as an ornamental.
It is used in homeopathic medicine even if it is often found under the previous name of Cotyledon umbilicus, since it was the original scientific name of the plant when homeopathy was developed.
According to some authors, the juice drunk from this plant would have very effective effects for all inflammations, to refresh the stomach, liver or bowels: “the juice of the fruit and leaves, applied externally, would heal pimples, the fire of Saint ‘ Antonio and other skin affections. It would also help heal sore kidneys due to stones, but it is also a diuretic and aids in the elimination of gravel. Used as a bath, or made into an ointment, it soothes pain and hemorrhoidal veins. It is no less effective in relieving the pains of gout, sciatica and helps in curing lumps in the neck or throat, called the evil of kings. It heals chilblains if massaged with juice or greased with an ointment made with its leaves. It can be used to heal wounds as a hemostatic, making them heal quickly ”.
Among the properties and applications of this plant it is sometimes used to relieve pain on skin scratches by applying the leaves on the skin after removing the superficial cuticle.
From an ecological point of view, according to the IUCN Red List, it is not currently in danger of extinction.

Preparation Method –
Umbilicus rupestris is a plant that can be used both in the food and medicinal fields as well as for ornamental use in rock gardens.
For food use, the leaves are consumed, both raw and cooked. They have a very acceptable mild flavor in winter and early spring, they can be used in quantity in salads.
The leaves then take on a rather strong flavor in summer, becoming less pleasant.
In the medicinal field, both the leaves and the entire plant and its juice are used. It is also used by contact by applying the leaves on the skin after removing the lower cuticle.

Guido Bissanti

– Acta Plantarum – Flora of the Italian Regions.
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– GBIF, the Global Biodiversity Information Facility.
– 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.
Photo source:

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.

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