Habitat: Saline areas, salt marsh, shorelines
Flowering Time: Spring and Summer
Description and uses:
Ice Plants (Mesembryanthemum species) are a beautiful family of succulent, usually coastal, ground covers that thrive in saline environments. They get their names from the glistening, water laden cells on their leaves and stems.
Ice Plants live in saline environments and deal with the high levels of salt by pumping it into external cells so that, when these cells are ruptured, the salt is released back into their environment.
Most Ice Plants are quite tasty, though, as their preferred environment suggests, they can be a little salty for some tastes.
Ice plants are rich in vitamins A, B and C, mineral salts and trace elements. The juice of the leaves can be used as an antiseptic and astringent that can be used externally for minor cuts or infections. It can be taken orally for digestive problems such as sluggish digestion
A little safety note. Eating lots of salty plants such as Saltbushes, Ice Plants and Samphires can give you an upset stomach and diarrhoea from the salt contained in them. Moderation in all things.