Plants fleshy, of singular and various form, yet beautiful, with opposite, fleshy leaves. Fls. solitary, axillary and terminal, remarkable for their profusion, brilliant, and of long duration. Sepals definite; petals numerous, colored, in many rows. Sta. indefinite, distinct, arising from the calyx (perigynous). Ova. inferior or nearly superior, many-celled. Stigmas numerous. Caps. many-celled, opening in a stellate manner at the apex, or one-celled. Sds. more commonly indefinite, attached to the inner angle of the cells, or to a free central placentae.
Genera 5, species 375, chiefly natives of the arid, sandy plains of the Cape of Good Hope. The species are much cultivated for ornament. Lewisia rediviva of Oregon, called Spaetlum, is highly valued for its farinaceous, nutritive roots.
MESEMBRYANTHEMUM, L. (Gr. mid-day, ; flowers expanding at mid-day.) Calyx 5-cleft; petals very numerous, linear; stamens ∞, perigynous; capsule inferior, fleshy, turbinate; seeds numerous, either axile or parietal.
1 M. crystallinum L. Ice-plant. Biennial, procumbent; lvs, largo, ovate, acute, wavy, frosted, 3-veined beneath. - A popular house plant, from Greece. It has a creeping stem, 1f or more in length, and with the leaves is covered over with frost-like, warty protuberances, giving the plant a very singular aspect. Fls. white, appearing all summer. †.
2 M. grandifldrum L. Perennial, procumbent, spreading; lvs. petiolate, opposite, cordate-ovate; cal. 4-cleft, 2-horned.- An interesting plant in house cultivation, from Cape Good Hope. The whole plant fleshy and succulent, like others of its kind. Fls. pink-colored. Calyx thick, green, the horns opposite. Caps. translucent, marked at summit with cruciform lines, †.