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Mesembryanthemum crystallinum

Higher Taxonomy
Family: AizoaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Annual, perennial herb, shrub, generally fleshy. Stem: underground to erect; root fibrous or tuberous. Leaf: generally simple, entire, flat, cylindric, 3-angled, or scale-like, generally cauline, generally opposite; stipules generally 0; blade papillate, pubescent, or generally glabrous, often glaucous. Inflorescence: cyme or 1-flowered, generally terminal. Flower: generally bisexual, radial; hypanthium present; sepals (3)5(8), often unequal; petals 0 or many in several whorls, free or fused at base, linear; stamens 1--many, free or fused in groups, outer often petal-like; nectary a ring or separate glands; pistil 1, ovary superior to inferior, chambers 1--20, placentas generally parietal, styles 0--20. Fruit: berry, nut, or generally capsule, opening by flaps or circumscissile. Seed: 1--many per chamber, generally ovoid, arilled or not.
Genera In Family: 130 genera, 2500 species: generally subtropics, especially southern Africa; many cultivated. Note: Galenia pubescens (Eckl. & Zeyh.) Druce, a waif, may be naturalizing in southern California.
Unabridged Note: Disphyma crassifolium (L.) L. Bolus (ovary glands convex, minute-crenate; stigmas dense-plumose; fruit chambers 5; seeds ovate, +- smooth), of tribe Ruschieae, an historical waif in California; Lampranthus coccineus (Haw.) N.E. Br.: (ovary glands fused; fruit chambers 5; seeds pear-shaped, +- black, rough), of Ruschieae, an historical waif or urban weed in California.
eFlora Treatment Author: Nancy J. Vivrette, John Bleck & Wayne R. Ferren, Jr., family description, key to genera
Scientific Editor: Bruce G. Baldwin, Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: MesembryanthemumView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Common Name: ICEPLANT
Habit: Annual, biennial, glabrous. Stem: prostrate to ascending, cylindric, angled or winged, papillate. Leaf: alternate or opposite, petioled or not, cylindric or flat, +- red in age or stress, papillae prominent to flat, inconspicuous; bases of pair fused. Inflorescence: 1-flowered or cyme. Flower: sepals, petals free or fused at base; sepals (4)5, 2 often leaf-like; petals white; stamens many; nectar gland +- grooved; ovary 1/2-inferior, chambers (4)5(20), styles (4)5(20). Fruit: capsule, valves 5, dehiscing when moist. Seed: many, round, compressed, often D-shaped, minutely tubercled, light or dark red-brown.
Species In Genus: 15 species: southwestern Africa, Mediterranean, western Asia. Etymology: (Greek: midday-blooming)
eFlora Treatment Author: Nancy J. Vivrette

Mesembryanthemum crystallinum L.
Stem: trailing, forked, < 1 m. Leaf: blade 2--20 cm, ovate to spoon-shaped, lower +- cordate. Inflorescence: cyme, +- sessile. Flower: hypanthium spheric, aging red; sepals 5, equal; petals aging pink. Fruit: course-papillate. Seed: brown, rough.
Ecology: Common, coastal bluffs, cliffs, disturbed ground; Elevation: < 100 m. Bioregional Distribution: NCo, CCo, SCo, ChI; Distribution Outside California: to Arizona, Mexico; also Mediterranean, South America, Australia, Africa; native to southern Africa. Flowering Time: Mar--Oct Note: Reported from roadside in DSon but not persisting.
eFlora Treatment Author: Nancy J. Vivrette
Jepson Online Interchange
Weed listed by Cal-IPC

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botanical illustration including Mesembryanthemum crystallinum


Citation for this treatment: Nancy J. Vivrette 2016. Mesembryanthemum crystallinum, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on April 28, 2016.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2016. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on April 28, 2016.

Mesembryanthemum crystallinum
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© 2010 Neal Kramer
Mesembryanthemum crystallinum
click for enlargement
© 2010 Neal Kramer
Mesembryanthemum crystallinum
click for enlargement
© 2010 Neal Kramer
Mesembryanthemum crystallinum
click for enlargement
© 2013 Gary A. Monroe
Mesembryanthemum crystallinum
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© 2006 Keir Morse
Mesembryanthemum crystallinum
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© 2014 California Academy of Sciences

More photos of Mesembryanthemum crystallinum in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Mesembryanthemum crystallinum:
NCo, CCo, SCo, ChI;
Markers link to CCH specimen records. If the markers are obscured, reload the page [or change window size and reload]. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

View elevation by latitude chart
Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
View all CCH records

CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.