A genus of over three hundred species, mostly succulent perennials or annuals which make excellent plants for covering dry banks or borders, and, where water is scarce, and where they are not likely to be trampled over, a good substitute for grass, many species being of a creeping spreading habit, hugging the ground closely and forming a carpet of rich green. Mesembryanthemum spectabile and Mesembryanthemum versicolor are chiefly grown for the blaze of color they give during sunshine. Mesembryanthemum jequilater-ale, Mesembryanthemum aus-tralis, etc., are mostly used for covering rocky banks, sand flats, and slopes, etc.
The Mesembryanthemum is not used so freely as it ought to be. Many waste pieces of ground, dry shifting steep slopes, railroad embankments, etc., now of a neglected, unkempt appearance, could be planted with any of the stronger-growing, thick-leaved species of this genus which, in addition to making a covering for the ground, would hold the slopes or embankments from sliding or from being moved by the elements. Mesembryanthemum australis (white-flowered) is the best for this purpose as it is a hardy, strong grower and a deep rooter, forming a dense, thick carpet of heavy stems difficult to move or wash out of position. Propagate by inserting cuttings, in Spring, about six inches apart, where they are to bloom, or where wanted, first preparing the ground by cultivating (either by plowing or spading) and raking it over to make it smooth on the surface, breaking any lumps which may be left, so that, in planting, the dibble may be worked easily and quickly.