Mesembryanthemum crystallinum - L.
Common Name Ice Plant, Common iceplant
Family Aizoaceae
USDA hardiness 8-11
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Maritime sands and salt marshes[50].
Range S. Africa. Introduced and naturalized in S. Europe.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating  
Half Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun

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Mesembryanthemum crystallinum Ice Plant, Common iceplant

Mesembryanthemum crystallinum Ice Plant, Common iceplant
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of flower
Mesembryanthemum crystallinum is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.1 m (0ft 4in) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 9 and is frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in saline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

Carpobrotus crystallinum. Cryophytum crystallinum.

 Cultivated Beds; East Wall. In. South Wall. In. West Wall. In.
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Fruit;  Leaves;  Seed.
Edible Uses:

Leaves and stems - raw or cooked[27, 52, 84, 95, 264]. They can be used as a spinach substitute[2]. The leaves have an acid flavour, they are thick and very succulent with a slightly salty tang[183]. They can also be pickled like cucumbers or used as a garnish[183]. Fruit[84, 106]. No more details are given. Seed - a famine food used when all else fails[177].
Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Demulcent;  Diuretic.

The plant is demulcent and diuretic[240]. It is used in the treatment of inflammations of the pulmonary and genito-urinary mucous membranes[240]. The leaves are used in the treatment of ascites, dysentery and diseases of the liver and kidney[240].


Other Uses

The crushed foliage is a soap substitute[84].
Cultivation details
Easily grown in an ordinary well-drained garden soil[1, 52]. Succeeds in any well-drained low-fertility soil so long as it is in a sunny position[200]. A very ornamental plant, it is occasionally cultivated for its edible leaves[1, 264]. It is not very hardy in Britain and will be killed even by a light frost[264]. It is, therefore, usually grown as a half-hardy annual, being sown in a greenhouse in the spring and used for summer bedding[52]. Plants have few problems with pests or diseases though the young plants are prone to root rot and damping off unless given plenty of ventilation and dry growing conditions[200].
Seed - sow spring in a greenhouse, only just covering the seed. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out after the last expected frosts. Seedlings are prone to damp off so should not be over watered and should be kept in a very sunny well-ventilated position[200].
Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
Related Plants


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Botanical References
Links / References
For a list of references used on this page please go here
Readers comment
Juana del Castillo   Sun Oct 21 08:53:25 2001
If you want to know more information about diferrent uses of this plant you can get contact with Biologic University in Canary Islands(Facultad de Biologia de la Universidad de La Laguna. Botanic Departament. Islas Canarias). We know the plant with the common name of: Barrilla. This plant had an important roll in the economy of the Canary Islands. (In Spanish: Si quieren recopilar mas informacion acerca del uso de esta planta pueden ponerse en contacto con la Universidad de La Laguna, en las Islas Canarias. Ellos poseen amplia informacion sobre la misma y sobre su historia y usos. Esta planta tuvo un importante papel economico en el archipielago durante las pasadas centurias. En Canarias se la conoce con el nombre comun de: Barrilla.)
Sophie   Tue Jan 11 17:26:16 2005
I am searching information about the way to collect the seeds from the tiny fruits of this plant. I picked them last automn, before the first frost.
Robin Bate   Tue Sep 29 2009
on eof the ingriedents in Dr Hauschka treatment no 3 for skin
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Subject : Mesembryanthemum crystallinum  

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