ID a Plant?
Hap gets right to it and identifies a mysterious, though fairly common, mesemb.
I’m wondering if yourselves or any of your readers can help identify this plant from Lanzarote in the Canary Islands. When I collected some dried fruits/seed pods in Sept ’04 I took a picture of some still succulent fruits, which look a bit like raspberries, with red and colourless ‘cells’. The seeds were in the black pods in the centre of the fruit.
I came across the seeds again this spring, and they’ve proven viable after almost five years. The plants are a few months old now, about 2 inches tall. The biggest leaves are roughly 2 inches long, fleshy and rubbery with clear cells on both sides of the leaves, the undersides having bigger cells.
Please see the attached pictures to help identify this plant, and if anyone’s interested, here’s where I collected the seeds.
Cool map. Hap seems to think he knows what it is. Do you agree?
It looks like you have Mesembryanthemum crystallinum, an interesting “ice” plant native to South Africa. It has naturalized all over the world, in both temperate and Mediterranean climates. It is so wide spread because it is a quick growing, salt tolerant plant that could be grown in pots for both cheerful flowers and edible fruit and “greens” for cooking that was useful as a treatment for scurvy. So sailors traded seeds and plants all around the world and even grew it aboard sailing ships. It is believed it made it to the Americas on those early sailing ship in the 1500s.