Mesembryanthemum crystallinum L.

Common Ice Plant
Aizoaceae (Fig-Marigold Family)



 

Common ice plant is a succulent, prostrate and much-branched annual whose stem and leaves are covered with tiny glistening vesicles.  The leaves are alternate, ovate to spatulate, narrowing to an amplexicaul base or with a short petiole.  They are thick, somewhat wavy-margined and up to 4" long.  The solitary flowers are either on short, thick stems or none, and have five sepals and masses of white threadlike petals that age to reddish. There are numerous short stamens.  Ice plant is common along the coast and in salt marshes from Lower to c. California, and is the species that is most properly called that as opposed to the Hottentot and Sea Figs which are also referred to incorrectly as ice plant.  It supposedly adds salt to the surrounding soil, thereby discouraging other plants from germinating nearby.  It is a native of South Africa, and blooms from March to October.  These pictures were taken in Upper Newport Bay. Note the Batis maritima in the third photo.

Click here for name derivations: 1) Mesembryanthemum 2) crystallinum.
Pronunciation: mes-em-bree-AN-the-mum kri-stal-EE-num.
Click here for Botanical Term Meanings.

 






Return to Home Page