Umbilicus rupestris, plant to decorate walls and ponds

Umbilicus rupestris also known as the Navel of Venus  (this name is due to the umbilicated shape of its leaves. Its appearance is inspired by Venus, the Roman goddess of love), Healing leaves, Vasillos or Balsam herb. It belongs to the Crassulaceae family. It is distributed in southern and western Europe and North Africa.

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Umbilicus rupestris characteristics

Perennial, herbaceous and glabrous plant , provided with a strain from which an erect and simple stem emerges. The stem is long, usually single, but it can grow double and reach 30 to 50 cm in height. The leaves are petioles, fleshy, rounded and bordered with a subtle festoon. The flowers are simple, discreet of a greenish yellow color that makes them go unnoticed. They are formed by 5 welded petals that look downwards as if they were bells. It blooms in mid-spring through summer. The seeds  are ovoid, small and of a dark brown color.

Umbilicus rupestris care

The navel of Venus grows in any fissure or crevice in rocks, in walls or walls and roofs of houses. In gardening it is used to decorate walls, ponds and fountains

It requires light and heat from the sun for it to thrive. Although it can also grow in the shade. It is able to withstand moderate frosts.

As for the soil, it must be dry, weakly acidic and poor in nitrogen.

It multiplies by means of cuttings or seeds.


Formerly it was a plant that had a lot of value thanks to its medicinal properties. Among them it helped heal wounds, sores, pimples, warts and earaches. In addition, due to its application on corns and calluses on the feet and hands, it is very effective, as long as it is recorded.

It is also said to be excellent for fighting dropsy or fluid retention. So to carry out the treatment you must place in a liter of white wine, 100 g of fresh leaves and roots of the plant and 100g of sugar. Let it marinate in a clean bottle. Drink 50 ml on an empty stomach, the same amount before eating and, finally, the same amount before dinner. But not everything is there, since even when making an infusion of its leaves it serves as a diuretic.

Images courtesy of: Wendy Cutler , Dr Mary Gillham Archive Project

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