Botanical name: Cleretum bellidiforme Family: Aizoaceae (Ice plant family)
Synonyms: Mesembryanthemum criniflorum, Dorotheanthus bellidiformis
Ice plant, native to South Africa, is a small succulent ground cover which forms patches of brilliant, almost flourescent colour in spring. Ice plant is very peculiar in appearance. The plant is covered with bladder-like cells that store water. They glisten in the sun giving it an appearance of icicles, hence the common name. Older leaves redden with age, giving the plant color. It has no true petals. Instead flowers have two rings of white stamens (the male sexual organs) surrounding the female organs. The outer ring of stamens is flattened and petal-like and only the inner ring of stamens is fertile. Modified Petal-like stamens are highly unusual in seed-bearing plants. The flowers are single and may reach up to 5 cm across. They vary in colour from white to pink and shades of orange and yellow. Today ice plant is widespread across the globe; it can be found in Australia, Asia, the Americas, Mediterranean Europe, the Atlantic Islands, and North and South America.
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