Mesembryanthemum L.

Greek mesembria—midday, anthemon—flower, as flowers open widest in full sun.

Annual or biennial prostrate to slightly erect succulent herbs covered with glistening crystal-like cells (papillae). Leaves opposite at the base, alternate above, stalk, if present, very short. Flowers solitary, opposite the leaves or in terminal clusters, more or less stalkless. Sepals 4-5, slightly fused at the base, two of them sometimes leaf-like. Petal-like stamens numerous. Ovary partly inferior with (4)5 chambers; ovule placentation axile. Nectary glands 5, stigmas (4)5. Fruit a capsule; seeds small, round or flattened.

In the past the name Mesembryanthemum has been used for plants now placed in other genera; this group of genera is sometimes placed in its own family, Mesembryanthemaceae.


Ovary chambers 5.

About 70 species from coastal S Europe, SW Asia, S Africa, Atlantic Island and W North America.

Source: Spencer, R.; Thompson, A. (1997). Aizoaceae. In: Spencer, R.. Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 2. Flowering plants. Dicotyledons. Part 1. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.

Hero image
kingdom Plantae
phylum   Tracheophyta
class    Magnoliopsida
superorder     Caryophyllanae
order      Caryophyllales
family       Aizoaceae
Higher taxa
Subordinate taxa
species         Mesembryanthemum crystallinum L.