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fat chicken

The fat hen is a particularly species-rich succulent plant. When children are out and about as little explorers, they don't have to look far for a fat hen. Their fleshy leaves can be used as a salad in the game. In addition, fat hens bloom in late summer in a wide variety of colors such as purple, pink and yellow, depending on the species, so that children and pets can be attracted by the flowers. Here you can find out whether caution is required in such cases and what parents or pet owners can do in an emergency.


Naturally resilient

Fat hens (Latin: Sedum), also known as stonecrops or stonecrops, are distributed worldwide with over 420 species. They grow throughout Europe and also in other continents such as Africa and South America. They usually thrive in domestic gardens and on balconies. This is hardly surprising, since these are very robust, easy-care and attractive plants. Even strong sun, drought and poor soil cannot harm them. Such resistant plants usually contain toxins in their flowers and leaves to defend themselves against pests. But what about the fat hen? Is this plant poisonous, or is it safe for children and pets to touch or even eat?


No critical concentration of poison

Neither parents of young children nor pet owners need worry about the toxicity of fat hens. Fat hens are considered harmless. If at all, they are only extremely slightly toxic. Their thick, water-storing leaves do contain alkaloids, tannins, flavonoids, glycosides and tannic acids, but in such low concentrations that the plants cannot be described as poisonous. In fact, they're not even inedible.

Fat hen, sedum

Caution - exception

When to be careful

An exception is the so-called magnificent stonecrop (Hylotelephium spectabile), which is why the pink flowering plant is largely spurned by animals. After consuming it, it can lead to an irritation of the stomach. In addition, some of the South African thick-leafed plants of the genus Cotyledon appear to cause nervous and muscular symptoms when consumed repeatedly.

medicinal plant

Recommended for external use

If sedum is used in medicine, it can help externally with poorly healing wounds. External use of the plants is generally recommended. In the past, both the leaves and the juice pressed from them were used medicinally in folk medicine. The juice is said to stop bleeding and speed up wound healing.

Flower buds of the stonecrop, Sedum


Edible in moderation

Today it is hardly known that the fat hen, which can be found in many rock gardens and borders, was both a common salad spice and a medicinal plant not infrequently used in earlier times. The plant also owes its name "stonecrop" to its strong, spicy taste. If the fat hen is eaten in very large quantities, it can occasionally lead to nausea and stomach and intestinal problems. But as a rule, even smaller pets are not plagued by such effects. That is why the plant is very popular with rabbits and guinea pigs, who usually tolerate it without any problems.

Edible parts of the fat hen

The thick, fleshy leaves of the plant are particularly suitable for consumption in moderation. In some species, the root nodules can also be boiled and used like vegetables. The leaves, on the other hand, can be eaten fresh or preserved in oil. The leaves can be used in salads or as a spice.

The following types are particularly well tolerated:

  • Hot Stonecrop (Sedum acre)
  • Mild Stonecrop (Sedum sexangulare)
  • Caucasian stonecrop (Sedum spurium)
  • Reddish stonecrop (Sedum rubens)
  • Big sedum
  • Purple Stonecrop
Tall Stonecrop, Sedum telephium xenox


tips and tricks

As a precaution, children should not be encouraged to eat the plant or swallow the pressed juice. However, nothing stands in the way of external use (e.g. to combat warts). Because of its pungency, the leaves and stems of the plant are not particularly tasty for children, so they typically do not consume large amounts of the plant during play. Also, the fat hen lacks berries that children might be attracted to. As a general rule, it's a good idea to teach children not to eat plants they don't know.

In this way, it can be ruled out that an upset stomach or intestinal irritation occurs. However, if, despite all caution, small children experience stomach pains after consuming large amounts of plant parts, the administration of liquids such as water and tea can alleviate the symptoms and allow them to subside. Giving bananas or eating chocolate can also be helpful if symptoms have developed.


  • Information center against poisoning

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