Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

Mesembryanthemum crystallinum L.

Frost tender, annual, carpet-forming succulent with thick, fleshy leaves with undulating margins and groups of 3-5, white, narrow-petalled flowers, to 3cm in diameter, in summer.  To 10cm, spreading.  [RHSD, Hortus].

Horticultural & Botanical History

Botanically described as Mesembryanthemum crystallinum by Linnaeus in 1753 [Sp. Pl. p.480/1753].

Mesembryanthemum crystallinum was introduced to Britain in 1775, although Greece is given as the country of origin.  [JD].  Don refers to two varieties of M. crystallinum L., ‘one a biennial, which is said to be the true M. crystallinum; and the other an annual, which is the common ice-plant of the gardens, which is called by Hawthorn M. glaciale.  The whole plant is covered with glittering white papulae, that shine in the sun, whence it is called ice-plant others name it the diamond plant.’  This latter is likely to be the catalogue plant, according to Don introduced to Britain in 1775.  Figured in the Plantarum Historia Succulentarum [PHS pl.128/1804].

History at Camden Park

Listed in the 1850 and 1857 catalogues [H.141/1850].


Published Oct 10, 2009 - 02:10 PM | Last updated Feb 13, 2012 - 12:54 PM

Figured is a succulent with thick, fleshy leaves and white, narrow-petalled flowers.  Plantarum Historia Succ. pl.128, 1803.

Mesembryanthemum crystallinum L. | PHS pl.128/1803 | BHL


Family Aizoaceae
Region of origin

South Africa

  • Mesembryanthemum glaciale Haw.
  • Cryophytum crystallinum (L.) N.E.Br.
  • Gasoul crystallinum (L.) Rothm. 


Common Name

Ice Plant

Name in the Camden Park Record

Mesembryanthemum glaciale


Confidence level high