mesembryanthemum

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mesembryanthemum

any plant of a South African genus (Mesembryanthemum) of succulent-leaved prostrate or erect plants widely grown in gardens and greenhouses: family Aizoaceae
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Mesembryanthemum

 

a genus of plants of the family Aizoaceae. They are low (4-60 cm) annual or biennial grasses with straight prostrate or creeping stems. The simple, alternate or opposite, succulent leaves are ovate, spatulate, or cylindrical. The entire plant is covered with glistening papillae, vesicles epidermal in origin. The bisexual flowers are solitary or in small inflorescences. The calyx is five-parted, and the numerous linear petals (staminodes) are white, red, pink, or, less often, yellow. The fruit is a five-celled capsule. There are approximately 50 species, found in southern and southwestern Africa in semideserts with sandy or rocky soils. Some species, such as Mesembryanthemum crystallinum and M. nodiflorum, grow wild in the Mediterranean region, the Canary Islands, Arabia, Iran, southern Australia, California, and Mexico. Many species are ornamentals and have been cultivated for a long time in open ground (for example, the ice plant).

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.