by Stephen Mifsud
   13 Jun 2024      ()
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Mesembryanthemum nodiflorum   (Lesser Crystal Ice Plant)

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

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Profile Date Oct-2007 (taxon update: none)
Citation for this page Mifsud, S. (2022). Mesembryanthemum nodiflorum - datasheet created on Oct-2007. Retrieved from on 13-Jun-2024

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Mesembryanthemum nodiflorumL.
Published in Sp. Pl. : 480 (1753)

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

Cryophytum nodiflorum (L.) L.Bolus
Full list of synonyms : [Euro+Med] [PlantList] [IPNI] [POWO] [Catalogue of Life] []

Plant Family :

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

English name(s) :

Lesser Crystal Ice Plant, Round-leaved Mesembryanthemum

Maltese name(s) :

Kristallina tal-blat, Kristallina żgħira, Kristallina komuni

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 ( annual plants, herbaceous )
Germination [info]: Dicotyledon

Legal Protection :

Not legally protected till the last update of this website (2/Mar/2022)

Red List (1989) :

Not listed in the Red Data Book of the Maltese Islands

Flowering Time :

April – July

Colour of Flowers:

White or Yellow


Not particularly toxic

Name Derivation :

Mesembryanthemum: Conjugation of two Greek words Mesembria - meaning midday or noon and -anthemon meaniny flower; in allusion to the fact that plants bloom at noon. In the past, many succulent plants have been classified in this genus for this artificail habit, however, many Mesembryanthemum species have been later placed to more appropriate genera sharing common morphological or/and genetic traits. (Greek origin )

Planting in rural areas :

Can be planted in rural areas according to ERA Guidelines

Remarks :

A trailing succulent plant found growing close to the coast, preferring calcareous soil near globigerina limestone rockbed. Differes from Mesembryanthemum crystallinum by having succulent finger-shaped leaves, and distinctly smaller flowers.

Description, Habitat and Distribution
Habitat in Europe: Coastal sands and salt-marshes, somewhat prefers dry, non-vegetated limestone beds.
Preferred habitat in Malta: Dirt and shallow compact sandy soil near the coast. Seems to prefer Globigerina limestone.
Botanical Description: More or less procumbent annual, 3-20 cm. Leaves narrowly oblong, subterete, obtuse, glaucous and slightly crystalline-papillose. Flowers terminal and axillary, solitary, subsessile. Petals shorter than the sepals, yellowish or white. Stigmas 5. Ovary inferior; capsule with 5 valves, winged on the angles
Chromosome number: 2n=18
Distributional range: W. & C. 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.
(from Euro+Med Checklist, 2019)
  Country codes  
AE(G) Ag Bl(I M N) Ca dCa(C F G H L P T) Co Cr Ct Cy Eg Ga(F) Gr Hs(G S) Ir It Le Li Lu Ma Md(D M) Sa Sg Si(M S) Sn Sy Tn Tu(A) [Az aAz(G T) aFe aGe aSu]

Links & Further literature (0 papers)

Google Web

Google Images

Google Scholar

Research Gate




Med Checklist

Cat. of Life



World Flora Online

Plants of the World Online

Vienna Virt. Herb.

RBGE Herbarium

KEW Herbarium




Kindly Email if there are papers and publications about local studies or information about this species to be included in the list above.

Species Images (8 images)
   Mesembryanthemum nodiflorum   -   Image Code: MSMNO-0.
   Mesembryanthemum nodiflorum   -   Image Code: MSMNO-1.
   Mesembryanthemum nodiflorum   -   Image Code: MSMNO-2.
   Mesembryanthemum nodiflorum   -   Image Code: MSMNO-3.
   Mesembryanthemum nodiflorum   -   Image Code: MSMNO-4.
   Mesembryanthemum nodiflorum   -   Image Code: MSMNO-5.
   Mesembryanthemum nodiflorum   -   Image Code: MSMNO-6.
   Mesembryanthemum nodiflorum   -   Image Code: MSMNO-7.

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