Herb: Ice Plant

Latin name: Mesembryanthemum crystallinum

Synonyms: Carpobrotus crystallinum, Cryophytum crystallinum

Family: Aizoaceae (Fig-marigold Family)

Medicinal use of Ice Plant:

The plant is demulcent and diuretic. It is used in the treatment of inflammations of the pulmonary and genito-urinary mucous membranes. The leaves are used in the treatment of ascites, dysentery and diseases of the liver and kidney.

Description of the plant:


10 cm
(4 inches)

July to

Habitat of the herb:

Maritime sands and salt marshes.

Edible parts of Ice Plant:

Leaves and stems - raw or cooked. They can be used as a spinach substitute. The leaves have an acid flavour, they are thick and very succulent with a slightly salty tang. They can also be pickled like cucumbers or used as a garnish. Fruit. No more details are given. Seed - a famine food used when all else fails.

Other uses of the herb:

The crushed foliage is a soap substitute.

Propagation of Ice Plant:

Seed - sow spring in a greenhouse, only just covering the seed. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out after the last expected frosts. Seedlings are prone to damp off so should not be over watered and should be kept in a very sunny well-ventilated position.

Cultivation of the herb:

Maritime sands and salt marshes.

Known hazards of Mesembryanthemum crystallinum:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.