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Silaum silaus (L) Schinz & Thell.      Pepper Saxifrage


Silaum : yellow ochre (from flower colour).
silaus : name used by Pliny.

Pepper Saxifrage : roots peppery. Sax stone, frango :
  to break, used for bladder stones.

PREVIOUS NAMES : Saxifraga anglicana. Silaus flavescens (Berh). S. pratensis (Besser).

BSBI Picture Link to Silaum silaus


TYPE : erect, glabrous perennial, 0.3-im. Hs. ROOTS tap root cylindrical, stout, woody,
remains of petioles at top Dark grey/black, like elephants trunk
AROMA: + TASTE : roots hot aromatic.STEMS : solid, striate, petiole remains at base.
UMBELS : 2-6 cm diam. Terminal, axi1lary & compound. 4-15 sharply angled rays, 1-3cm,
unequal. Top of peduncle and rays papillose. Peduncle > than rays. Mostly hermaphrodite.
LEAVES : 2-4 pinnate, triangular to lanceolate in outline, long petiolate, primary divisions long
stalked. Segments 10-15mm, lanceolate to linear, acuminate or obtuse and mucronate, finely
serrulate, with prominent midrib, apex often reddish. Upper cauline few, 1-pinnate, simple or
reduced to sheath. Cotyledons tapered at the base, no petiole.
BRACTS : 0-3. Bracteoles 5-11 = pedicels, linear or lanceolate, scarious margins.
FLOWERS : yellowish, sepals absent. Styles form a stylopodium. Fl. 6-8.
FRUIT : 4-5 mm, oblong ovoid, scarcely compressed. Commisure broad. Mericarps with
prominent, slender ridges, lateral forming narrow wings. Carpophore present. Vittae numerous.
Pedicels 2-3mm, stout. Styles as > as, and appressed to stylopodium. Stigma capitate. 2n=22*

HABITAT : grassy banks, damp meadows woodlands, heaths, roadsides, waste ground. Heavy soil.

S. & E. England, Wealds of Sussex & Kent. Few localities in Wales &
S.E. Scotland, not in Ireland. W.C. + E.W. Europe, N. to Netherlands & Sweden, absent Portugal.
BSBI Distribution Map for Silaum silaus (UK)

POISONING PRINCIPLES : Gives an unpleasent smell to milk.


Gerard : “vouchsafing that name unto it of his viertues against the stone."

Culpepper l7thC “Breaks up stony deposits in body Good to provoke urine and servacable
in gravel distempers of the kidneys, also for expelling wind."


These links to trusted websites and institutions may provide in depth or additional information regards cultivation, chemistry, edibility, images etc. for the species. Links last updated Aug 2012.

Wikipedia (GER)    Plants For a Future (UK)
Bio Info (UK)     Bio Images (UK)
Northumberland Moths (UK)

'Online Guide To Umbelliferae Of The British Isles' Compiled By J.M.Burton 2002