HOUSELEEK, Sempervivum, a genus of ornamental evergreen plants belonging to the natural order Crassurocky situations ; the others are evergreen shrubs or under-shrubs, fit only for cultivation in the greenhouse or conservatory. The genus S'enzpervivican is distinguished from the nearly allied Sedum by having about 12 petals, and by the glands at the base of the ovary being laciniated if present. The common houseleek, S. tectorum, L. (Germ. Hausicurzel ; Fr. Joubarbe), is often met with in Britain on roofs of outhouses and wall tops, but is not a native. Originally it was indigenous in the Alps, but it is now widely dispersed in Europe, and has been introduced into America. The leaves are thick, fleshy, and succucyme, reflexed at the circumference, of reddish flowers, which bloom from June to September. The houseleek has been known variously as the Houselick, Homewort, Great Houseleek, Sedum majus, and Crassula major cdtera, Sedum acre, L., being styled the Least Houseleek. In Germany it is sometimes called Donnerkraut, from being supposed to protect the house on which it grows from thunder. The leaves are said to contain malic acid in considerable quantity, and are reckoned by herbalists to possess cooling and astringent properties. The leaves, freshly bruised, are applied to haemorrhoids, boils, wens, thrush (aphthm) in children, also for stings and burns, erysipelas and herpes. Internally houseleek is used as a cooling remedy in dysentery and fluxes. The young leaves have also been eaten as salad, like Portufacca. glutinosuos, an external remedy for malignant ulcers, inflammations, and burns, and internally for mucous discharges.
See Britten and Holland, Dictionary of Plant Names, pp. 265-271 ; Fristedt, Joannis Franekcnii Botanologia, p. 60 ; Rosenthal, Plan-tartan, Diaphoricarum, p. 576.