Stonecrops – Sedum SPP.: Edible & Medicinal Uses of Live Forever of Wild Plants

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Sedum are juicy looking succulents can be found occasionally in the wild, but sadly none are native to Ontario.

Stonecrops (sedum spp.) that you may spot around here include Spanish stonecrop (s. hispanicum) and mossy also known as biting stonecrop (s. acre), neither common. They are both pictured below. Tasteless stonecrop (s. sexangulare) has also been sighted hereabouts.

Live forever was classified as a sedum (s. telephium) when Haliburton Flora was compiled, but is now its own genus hylotelephium / orpine as hylotelephium telephium. If you see a chunky looking “sedum” taking over a section of sideroad or woods, it’s probably live forever. In fact, it may take over this article in spots too. All the above species are introduced, not native to Ontario, Canada. In other areas of the world there are more look-a-likes, like rhodiola spp.

Biting Stonecrop (Sedum Acre)
Biting Stonecrop (Sedum Acre)

Edible Uses of Stonecrops and Live Forever

Sedums are a mixed bag, for instance, peppery tasting s. acre is somewhat toxic. You probably shouldn’t eat the couple of sedum species dotting Haliburton county, Ontario.

For live forever, young leaves and shoots can be eaten raw or cooked, and as usual they get bitter as they age and cooking them will reduce the bitterness. They are a decent source of juice if you’re thirsty. The rhizomes can be eaten boiled or pickled. Here’s a picture of live forever:

Live Forever looks more like a sedum than the actual sedums around Haliburton!
Live Forever looks more like a sedum than actual sedums around Haliburton!

High in Vitamin A and C.

Medicinal Uses of Live Forever

Live Forever is primarily said to support these body systems:

  • Integumentary

Medicinal tags include Astringent and Demulcent. See Medicinal tag key for more information.

Live forever takes the spotlight medicinally too. Common usage includes the juice for external wounds, bites and skin irritations. It’s gelatinous like aloe vera. Note that for some sensitive folks the juice can irritate skin. And definitely don’t get the juice in your eye.

Tasteless Stonecrop (Sedum Sexangulare)
Tasteless Stonecrop (Sedum Sexangulare)

Alternative Uses of Sedum

Sedum is popular for green roofs, but native alternatives I’ve seen shouted out more than once include hairy beardtongue (penstemon hirsultus), Laurentian wild chives (allium schoenoprasum var. laurentianum), moss phlox (phlox subulata) and the stunningly beautiful prairie smoke (geum triflorum). And there’s plenty more.

Live forever is sometimes called frog plant or frog’s-stomach as warming a piece will inflate it to resemble a frog’s belly.

Growing Sedum SPP.

Sedums aren’t native to Ontario, and some are aggressive spreaders. People generally treat them with salt and thoroughly tarp them to clear an area for landscaping more beneficial to the ecosystem. Cutting them back again and again eventually eliminates the plant as well, but watch you get all the scrap because sedum root easily.

Canada-wide there are some native sedums, but most are south of the border.

Fortunately, you can easily scratch that sedum itch indoors with a variety of succulents.


The juice can irritate sensitive skin.

And the Usual Cautions:

1) Most medicinal herbs, if edible, are meant to be eaten in moderation, even sparingly. Some require extra preparation. Tannins are toxic if consumed in excess.

2) People can be allergic or sensitive to nearly any plant; try new herbs one at a time at your own risk. For instance, saponins commonly cause stomach upset.

3) For medicinal use, I must recommend receiving a diagnosis and working with a reputed health care provider. I generally do not post specific treatments and dosages because I think that is best between you and your health care provider, and ideally monitored.

4) Anyone pregnant, nursing, or taking prescription drugs should talk to a health care professional before adding new food items to their diet.

5) Many plants have look-a-likes, and sometimes they are poisonous.

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Reader’s Digest Magic and Medicine of Plants

Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs

Field Guide to Medicinal Wild Plants

100 Easy-to-Grow Native Plants for Canadian Gardens

Eating Wild in Eastern Canada: A Guide to Foraging the Forests, Fields, and Shorelines

Edible and Medicinal Plants of Canada

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