A very strange and conspicuous plant, often clothing sandy slopes with a curious mantel of trailing, fleshy stems and foliage thickly sprinkled with thousands of gaudy flowers. The stems are stout and flatfish, several feet long; the leaves three-sided, with flat faces, tipped with a small reddish point; the calyx-lobes three-sided like the leaves. The stems, leaves, and the calyx-lobes are all pale bluish-green with a "bloom" and exceedingly succulent, the watery juice running out in large drops when the plant is broken. The twigs seem to be fitted into a sort of socket, from which they come out very easily, so that the plant comes apart almost at a touch. The fragrant flowers are two or three inches across, bright but crude in color, the numerous, purplish-pink petals resembling the rays of a composite and encircling a fuzzy ring of innumerable stamens, with white, threadlike filaments and small, straw-colored anthers, around a dark-green center, composed of the top of the calyx and the six to ten styles of the ovary. This accommodating plant is very useful and ornamental in hot, sandy places, where not much else will grow and may be seen hanging its long stems over the sea-cliffs all along the coast, from Patagonia to Marin County in California. It also grows in Africa and is extensively cultivated. The fruit is edible, with pulp and tiny seeds something like a fig.
Sea. Fig-Mesembrvanthemum aequilaterale. PINK FAMILY. Caryophyllaceae.