Mesembryanthemum crystallinum L.

Common Ice-plant

Sp. Pl. 480 (1753) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Naturalised

Prostrate annual (usually), stems, 5–20 cm tall, stem diam. to 10 mm wide, terete, leaves and calyx covered by glistening, bead-like bladder-cells. Central erect stem absent. Leaves opposite at base, sometimes rosetted, ovate, spathulate or cordate, mostly 2–12 cm long, 1–9 cm wide, commonly tinged pink. Floral leaves persistent. Flowers leaf-opposed,  pedicels 0–5(–12) mm long, pedicel slightly elongating in fruit; receptacle ca. 8 mm diam.;  flowers (10–)15–20(–30) mm diam., ovary inferior; sepals ovate, 4–8 mm long, often red-tipped, the 2 inner broader and blunter than the 3 outer; staminodes white, often pinkish near tips, c. 100–120, exceeding sepals by c. 5 mm. Capsule hemispherical, sepals reflexing and opening to c. 15 mm diam.; seeds brown, D-shaped, 0.8 mm long, reticulate. Flowers Sep.–Jan.

*DunT, *GipP, *Gold, *LoM, *MuF, *MuM, *MSB, *OtP, *RobP, *VRiv, *VVP, *WaP, *Wim. Also WA, SA, NSW, Tas. Native to South Africa. Locally common in years of high winter rains on sandy, often saline soils of the north-west, occasional along the coast (Port Fairy, Port Phillip Bay).

For differences with Mesembryanthemum guerichianum see profile for that species.

Source: Walsh, N.G. (1996). Aizoaceae. In: Walsh, N.G.; Entwisle, T.J. (eds), Flora of Victoria Vol. 3, Dicotyledons Winteraceae to Myrtaceae. Inkata Press, Melbourne.
Updated by: Val Stajsic, 2018-05-28

Chinnock, R.J.; Stajsic, V. & Brodie, C.J. (2012). Mesembryanthemum guerichianum Pax (Aizoaceae): A weedy alien species new to Australia, Plant Protection Quarterly 27(2): 83-88.

Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Caryophyllanae
family Aizoaceae
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <>. Find Mesembryanthemum crystallinum in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Mesembryanthemum crystallinum in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Lowan Mallee present naturalised
Murray Mallee present naturalised
Wimmera present naturalised
Victorian Volcanic Plain present introduced
Victorian Riverina present naturalised
Murray Scroll Belt present naturalised
Robinvale Plains present naturalised
Murray Fans present naturalised
Gippsland Plain present naturalised
Otway Plain present naturalised
Warrnambool Plain present introduced
Goldfields present naturalised
Dundas Tablelands present introduced

State distribution

Distribution map
Western Australia
South Australia
New South Wales