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common ice plant, crystalline ice plant

slender-leaf iceplant, small flower iceplant

Habit Plants annual to biennial. Plants annual.

trailing, dichotomously branched, to 1 m. Leaves sessile or petiolate;

petiole, ± clasping;

blade ovate to spatulate, flat, 2–20 cm, margins undulate.

prostrate to ascending, branched from base, 15–20 cm, sessile.


blade ± terete, linear, 1–2 cm.


terminal or axillary, cymes;

proximal bracts opposite, leaflike;

distal bracts alternate, reduced; flowering profusely.

axillary, flowers solitary, sessile or petiolate;

bracts absent.


7–10 mm diam.;

hypanthium aging red, round;

calyx lobes 5, unequal;

petals 20–40, connate into tube, white, aging pink;

stamens 30.

4–5 mm diam.;

hypanthium obconic;

calyx lobes 5, equal;

petals 20, connate, white, aging yellow;

stamens 10.


coarsely papillate.

finely papillate.


200, rough with minute tubercles.

100, smooth to minutely tuberculate.


= 18.

= 36.

Mesembryanthemum crystallinum

Mesembryanthemum nodiflorum

Phenology Flowering year-round, mostly spring–fall. Flowering spring–fall.
Habitat Coastal bluffs, cliffs, ballast dumps, disturbed ground Coastal bluffs, margins of saline wetlands
Elevation 0-100 m (0-300 ft) 0-100 m (0-300 ft)
from FNA
AZ; CA; PA; South America; Mexico (Baja California); Europe (Mediterranean); Africa; Atlantic Islands; Australia [Introduced in North America]
[WildflowerSearch map]
[BONAP county map]
from FNA
CA; NJ; Mexico (Baja California); Europe (Mediterranean); Asia; Atlantic Islands; Australia [Introduced in North America]
[WildflowerSearch map]
[BONAP county map]

Introduced from southern and western Africa, Mesembryanthemum crystallinum is in cultivation as an ornamental. Its use to treat scurvy by sailors, its popularity as an ornamental potted plant aboard ships, and its occurrence in ballast dumps (as in Pennsylvania) were some of the means by which this species has become so widespread throughout the world. Gauchos in Argentina used it to treat venereal disease.

(Discussion copyrighted by Flora of North America; reprinted with permission.)

Source FNA vol. 4, p. 85. FNA vol. 4, p. 85.
Parent taxa Aizoaceae > Mesembryanthemum Aizoaceae > Mesembryanthemum
Sibling taxa
M. nodiflorum
M. crystallinum
Synonyms Cryophytum crystallinum, Gasoul crystallinum Cryophytum nodiflorum, Gasoul nodiflorum
Name authority Linnaeus: Sp. Pl. 1: 480. (1753) Linnaeus: Sp. Pl. 1: 480. (1753)
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