ICE-PLANT, the popular name for Mesembryanthemum crystallinum, a hardy annual most effective for rockwork. It is a low-growing spreading herbaceous plant with the fleshy stem and leaves covered with large glittering papillae which give it the appearance of being coated with ice. It is a drycountry plant,a native of Greece and other parts of the Mediterranean region, the Canary Islands, South Africa and California. Mesembryanthemum is a large genus (containing about 300 species) of erect or prostrate fleshy herbs or low shrubs, mostly natives of South Africa, and rarely hardy in the British Isles where they are mostly grown as greenhouse plants. They bear conspicuous white, yellow or red flowers with many petals inserted in the calyx-tube. The thick fleshy leaves are very variable in shape, and often have spiny rigid hairs on the margin. They are essentially sun-loving plants. The best-known member of the genus is M. cordifolium, var. variegatum, with heart-shaped green and silvery leaves and bright rosy-purple flowers. It is extensively used for edging flower-beds and borders during the summer months.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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