One of the queerest looking plants that it is possible to imagine, the stout stems and large flat leaves thickly encrusted with millions of small translucent beads, resembling glass or ice and giving a glistening effect to the whole plant. They cluster especially thickly along the wavy margins and under sides of the leaves, and on the calyxes, and feel quite hard to the touch, but when they are crushed underfoot they exude a watery juice, which is said to be alkaline and injurious to shoe-leather. The stems and leaves are light bright-green, the tips and margins tinged with bright pinkish-red, especially on dry mesas, where this plant sometimes covers the ground for long distances with flat rosettes, forming a thick, red carpet, beautiful in color. In shadier, damper places, such as the crevices in the sea-cliffs at La Jolla, it becomes quite a large, tall plant, scarcely tinged with red and very glistening. The flowers are about an inch across, with a greenish center, surrounded by numerous, small, yellowish anthers and a single row of many, white or flesh-colored petals, suggesting the tentacles of a sea-anemone. In fact the whole plant is curiously suggestive of some low form of animal life. It is very troublesome to farmers in the south near the sea, and also flourishes in the Mohave Desert, in France and the Canary Islands.
Ice-plant Mesembryanthemum crystallinum. CARPET-WEED FAMILY. Aizoaceae.