Orpine, Sedum telephium
Orpine is a succulent plant, meaning it stores a lot of water in itself so that it can survive long dry periods. The plant stores water in its leaves and roots, which makes it refreshing to eat. Due to its thick roots and its preferred habitat, orpine is sometimes referred to as “rock potato” (kallioperuna) in Finnish (although the official Finnish name is isomaksaruoho).
Orpine leaves are juicy, crunchy and filling to eat. Although young orpine has a sweet, even sickly sweet taste, as the plant ages the flavour becomes increasingly bitter.
Something to try
Orpine leaves can be added to salads just as they are. Orpine can also be used just like spinach. You can either lightly blanch it in boiling salted water for 10 seconds, or pan-fry it as an accompaniment to a meal. Orpine is not suitable for pickling or making preserves.
Gathering the plants
Orpine can be picked and eaten from spring until August. In springtime the entire orpine shoot can be used, but in older plants only the leaves should be used. The plant thrives throughout Southern Finland, and is commonly found on dry slopes, rocks and in rock crevices.
Other interesting facts
The leaves of orpine are the most important source of food for the larvae of the Apollo butterfly, which is the largest species of butterfly in Finland. The Apollo is a protected species. In collecting orpine leaves, some of the leaves must always be left to grow, and to ensure enough food for the larvae of the Apollo butterfly.