by Stephen Mifsud
   24 Feb 2021      ()
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Mesembryanthemum crystallinum   (Crystal Ice Plant)

Mesembryanthemum crystallinum  (AIZOOACEAE.) 
Images for this profile are taken from the Maltese Islands at or after year 2000.

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Nomenclature and Basic Information Images
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Profile Date Oct-2010 (last update: 12-Jan-2019)
Citation for this page Mifsud, S. (Oct-2010) Mesembryanthemum crystallinum retrieved from on 2021-Feb-24

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Mesembryanthemum crystallinumL.
Published in Sp. Pl. 480 (1753)

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

Cryophytum crystallinum (L.) N.E.Br.
Full list of synonyms : [Euro+Med] [PlantList] [IPNI] [POWO] [Catalogue of Life ]

Plant Family :

Aizooaceae Rudolphi (The Fig-Marigold Family)
16 species from the Aizooaceae family are recorded from the Maltese Islands.

English name(s) :

Crystal Ice Plant, Silvery-leaved Mesembryanthemum

Maltese name(s) :

Kristallina tar-ramel, Kristallina kbira

Status for Malta :

Indigenous. Present on the Maltese islands before man

Frequency :

Very Common     Common     Frequent     Scarce     Rare     Very rare     Extinct

Growth form :

Raunkiaer lifeform [info]: THEROPHYTE (annuals)
Germination [info]: Dicotyledon

Legal Protection [link]:

Not Protected by Law (LN200/2011 or LN311/2006)

Red List (1989) :

This species has a threatened status and is listed in the Red Data Book of the Maltese Islands

Flowering Time :


Colour of Flowers:

White or Yellow

Remarks :

A beautiful, succulent plant with large flattened leaves covered in blister-like water cells which flowers abundantaly in late Spring to early Summer. It is becoming more rare due to human disturbances and habitat loss.

Species Description and Distribution

Habitat in Europe:

Coastal sands and salt-marshes, sometimes in coastal wasteground.

Preferred habitat in Malta:

Fertile soil close to the coast, usually as a ruderal or margins of paths and fields.

Botanical Description:

Procumbent-erect, 10-30cm, annual. Whole plant densely crystalline-papillose; leaves spathulate to broadly ovate, flat; Flowers terminal and axillary, solitary, subsessile. Petals and stamens numerous. Petals longer than the sepals, white, linear. Stigmas 5. Ovary inferior; capsule with 5 valves, winged on the angles

Chromosome number:


Distributional range:

Mediterranean region

Distributional map in Europe
and the Mediterranean region (2018):

Occurrences in Europe.
(from Flora Europaea pre year 1993):

the Balaeric Islands, Corse, Crete, France (incl. Monaco and Channel Islands but excluding Corse), Greece, Spain (incl. Andorra but excl. the Balaerics), Italy (excl. Sicily and Sardignia), ex-Jugoslavia, Sardinia, Sicily and/or Malta, Introduced in  the Azores, Portugal

Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(Euro+Med Checklist, 2017) - Country codes

AE(G) Ag Bl Ca dCa(C F G H L P T) Co Cr Ct dCy Eg Ga(F) Gr Hs dHs(G) Ir It Li Ma Md Sa Si(M S) Sn Tn [nAE(G) Az nAz(G M T) aBe(B L) Bl(I M N) cBy nCo aDa nEg cEs nGa(F) aGe Hs(S) cLa cLt nLu Md(D M P) cMo cRf(C E K N NW S) Sg aSu cUk(K U)]

Images (10 images)
   Mesembryanthemum crystallinum   -   Image Code: MSMCY-0.
   Mesembryanthemum crystallinum   -   Image Code: MSMCY-1.
   Mesembryanthemum crystallinum   -   Image Code: MSMCY-2.
   Mesembryanthemum crystallinum   -   Image Code: MSMCY-3.
   Mesembryanthemum crystallinum   -   Image Code: MSMCY-4.
   Mesembryanthemum crystallinum   -   Image Code: MSMCY-5.
   Mesembryanthemum crystallinum   -   Image Code: MSMCY-6.
   Mesembryanthemum crystallinum   -   Image Code: MSMCY-7.
   Mesembryanthemum crystallinum   -   Image Code: MSMCY-8.
   Mesembryanthemum crystallinum   -   Image Code: MSMCY-9.

Links & Further info

Google Web

Google Images

Yahoo Web

Yahoo Images




Med Checklist

Cat. of Life



The Plant List


Vienna Virt. Hb.





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