Is Ice Plant Native To California

A native of the South African coast, where the temperature is comparable to that of coastal California, the iceplant is a coastal succulent shrub. Early in the 20th century, iceplant was brought to California and employed by Caltrans on roadside erosion control on railroad tracks.

The reason ice plants are invasive

Ice plant, which originated in South Africa, was brought to California in the early 1900s to help stabilize the soil next to railroad tracks. The newcomer thrived in the warm, sunny climate of California and spread quickly down the coast.

What then is the issue? First of all, ice plants disrupt local ecosystems by displacing native species from their natural habitats and stealing their resources including light, water, nutrients, and space. It’s possible that native plants and animals that are often present in dune habitats won’t have a place to live. To make matters worse, ice plants actually perform the reverse of what they were intended to do by destabilizing coastal soil and even increasing the likelihood of landslides thanks to their heavy leaves and weak roots.

invading hardy ice plant

In California’s dry climate, Hardy Ice Plant is regarded as an invasive weed. However, in the Northwest, damp soil will prevent it from spreading outside of the site’s dry areas.

How invasive is yellow ice plant?

Hardy Yellow Ice Plant is a very useful non-invasive perennial ground cover that blooms profusely in late spring with yellow daisy-like flowers. This evergreen groundcover only gets to be two tall, yet it can stretch out to be 36 broad.

Why does ice plant cause issues?

It invades grassland and meadows first and foremost. It releases salt into the soil, increasing the salinity to a point where other plant seeds, particularly grass seeds, are inhibited. Additionally, it does not provide food for animals. It can outcompete local plants for resources like water, light, and space.

Second, it is terrible for preventing erosion! The plants’ weak and meager root systems contribute to their extreme weight. Gravity alone can cause a hill to start sliding as they get heavier, carrying with it any top soil that was already present.

Additionally, it is a bad plant for fires! Because the soft succulent new growth has a high water content and doesn’t burn, there is more dry and dead material under the plant than there would normally be. This is because dead leaves take a very long time to disintegrate.

Please click on the italicized links for further details if you’d want to learn more about iceplant and the other alternatives:

How are ice plants eliminated?

(Removing, chopping, and disking) Any time of year, mechanical removal is effective. The Hottentot fig and other iceplant species are simple to pull out by hand. Tearing the plants up by the roots is one way to remove them. It is possible to remove large mats by rolling them up like carpet, but this requires a lot of work.

Are ice plants regenerated annually?

Are Ice Plants Resurrected Each Year? Although this plant remains evergreen for the majority of the year, the winter months cause the foliage to die back. But throughout the early to late spring season, fresh growth appears from the seed.

How quickly does ice plant propagate?

If they reside in an environment that is too cold, the Ice Plant is prone to extinction. Fortunately, if you live indoors, you won’t have to worry about them growing back under these circumstances.

For their small, these succulents can cover a decent amount of ground. They can expand to a width of up to four feet. They usually don’t grow much during this process, which only takes a few brief months.

Aloe and other succulents have been utilized for a variety of purposes. The Ice Plant operates similarly. Their leaves are harmless to both people and animals. Others can brew teas out of them, while other people use them in salads.

Why is it known as the ice plant?

I love my ice plant, however I’m curious as to why it is called a “ice plant.” It doesn’t grow throughout the winter; in fact, it tends to die back a bit then.


Because they are fascinating, drought-tolerant plants that bloom all summer long, ice plants are frequently employed in southwest landscapes. Because of the bladder-like hairs on their leaf surfaces that reflect and refract light in a way that makes them appear as though they glitter like ice crystals, they are known as ice plants.

Since the term “ice plant” is more of a “common name” than a scientific name, it is used to refer to a wide variety of plants that may dazzle. As a result, ice plant refers to a wide variety of plants. Some horticultural publications frequently refer to the one we grow the most frequently in New Mexico (Delosperma cooperi) simply as Delosperma to set it apart from the others. Delosperma nubigenum, often known as the ice plant and the hardiest of the succulent plants, is another one that is utilized in New Mexico. The Delosperma cooperi may be able to withstand temperatures as low as 0 degrees F, whereas it is said to have endured -25 degrees F. Even more of these stunning plants can be found in southern New Mexico, where the winters are warmer and they may even survive.

I’ve seen that Delosperma grown on the south side of a building or wall that generates warmth throughout the winter can suffer from considerable winter dieback. This might be as a result of the plants and soil in these areas drying out more quickly. This succulent plant is extremely drought tolerant, however it can benefit from a little winter irrigation.

Various of the relatives of Delosperma (Carpobrotus, also known as ice plant or Hottentot’s fig), an intriguing group of succulent plants, are prohibited in some jurisdictions due to their invasive tendency. There is no ban on delosperma.

The living stones (plants like Lithops and others) and Hearts and Flowers, a common hanging basket plant, are other fascinating Delosperma relatives (Aptenia cordifolia). These plants all have attractive, multi-petalled flowers that are frequently colorful. The others, save from the Delosperma, aren’t tough enough for outdoor use in the majority of New Mexico.

Should ice plants be pruned?

Although iceplants are known for being completely unfettered, some careful trimming will promote even healthier and more brilliant growth. To prune your plant, abide by following guidelines:

  • After blossoms have faded, prune in the fall.
  • Cut the plant back to a uniform height, removing all faded ice blooms, using sharp, clean pruning shears. As a result, seed production will be reduced, and plants will be able to conserve energy for a more colorful appearance.
  • Trim off any dead foliage you come across. This will keep your plants looking neat and orderly.
  • Iceplants can wither back under extremely cold conditions. If this occurs, proceed and cut it to the ground. It’ll come back in the spring.

What is the benefit of ice plant?

The South African soil is continually scorched by the sun. You must have some tricks under your sleeve if you don’t want to pass out from thirst in this place. When it comes to acquiring water, the ice plant is an expert. It grows well on sandy, clayey, and even saline soils where it can cover up to 0.7 square meters under the hot sun. Its green or occasionally brightly red leaves hold the key to its mystery. They have glistening fluid reservoirs all over them that reflect sunlight like ice crystals or dew drops. They are thick and succulent. But how, in such a dry climate, can it gather so much water? Later, we’ll reveal that to you.

The many, radially arranged white to reddish flowers of the biennial to perennial, frost-sensitive ice plant bloom from July to September. This opulence contrasts with the root’s brief length, which gives the impression that it serves more as a means of holding the plant in place than a source of water. The grey-brown seeds are released from the capsules when it is damp outside, but they must ripen in the warmth of their natural environment.

It is claimed that the ice plant has diuretic properties. Written by Samuel Hahnemann

With little proof to back it up, the freshly squeezed juice of the plant (Mesembryanth. crystall.) has been praised for its diuretic, dilutive properties in treating dropsy and strong urine.

Ascites (an buildup of fluid in the abdomen), diarrhea, liver and kidney problems, and pneumonia can all be treated using ice plant. It soothes itchiness, discomfort, edema, and redness of the skin when applied externally.

Greek words mesembria, which means midday, and anthemon, which means flower, combine to form the generic name Mesembryanthemum. The blooms only open when there is intense sunlight, which is normally at noon, hence the generic name and the German name Mittagsblume (noon plant). The strength of our plant is reflected in the family name Aizoazeae, which derives from the Greek word aizoon, which means to live forever.

However, we made a pledge to explain how the ice plant handles such intense temperatures. It accomplishes this by holding its breath all day. Normally, plants absorb carbon dioxide during the day and use sunlight to transform it into sugar and oxygen. The pores on the underside of the leaves allow the plant to breathe, but they also allow water loss. These so-called stomata are therefore shut throughout the day, and the ice plant only breathes at night. The carbon dioxide it absorbs is linked to a molecule and converted the following morning through photosynthesis into sugar and oxygen.

That is not all, though. The ice plant has a quirk that is at first puzzling: salt accumulation. If a typical plant is exposed to too much salt, it will die. This happens every winter when we discover that the vegetation has been harmed by the salt used to clear the icy roadways. However, in coastal regions, if the soil isn’t salty enough, the ice plant will even absorb salt from the air. What is it used for? The salt encourages the plant to produce fruit acids. These also contribute to a natural moisture-retaining component, together with sugar alcohols, a lot of magnesium, and the amino acid proline. Therefore, these elements in our plant actually draw and bind the meager moisture present in its surroundings. Cut branches that don’t begin to dry up for several weeks are a particularly spectacular example of this. The final layer of heat insulation is provided by the red of the leaves. The so-called betacyanins, pigments that absorb light and so offer organic sun protection, are what give the color.

The ice plant leaves behind salty soils wherever it grows because of its high salt content. The earlier practice of planting ice plants to prevent erosion has now mostly been abandoned because this renders the soil unusable for other plants.

The ice plant’s leaves produce a vegetable that resembles spinach. The sour leaves are chewed in South Africa.

On the Canary Islands, soda (sodium carbonate), which is present in significant levels in the ash, was once produced at an ice plant. This is where one of its German names, soda plant, comes from. In fact, a nurse was the one who first recognized the ice plant’s ability to relieve itchiness, pain, swelling, and skin redness. This amazing plant impressed Waltraud Marschke when she was working at the Lanzarote center for anthroposophical therapy on the Canary Islands. After conducting extensive field tests at the ice plant, Nurse Waltraud published her knowledge in 1988, and it has since gained popularity.

The ice plant’s many leaves appear to have all of the characteristics of the whole plant. Their crimson hue resembles that of a flower; the liquid reserves and moisture-retaining properties make up for the root’s short length, which seems to serve more as a means of securing the plant to the ground than as a source of water. The nerve sense organs of people, including the epidermis, are related to the root of the ice plant. The plant combines the root’s functions with the leaf system’s balancing functions, which are related to the human body’s rhythmic functions. Thus, it serves as a role model for skin that is inflamed and, in a sense, under stress.

The hardy ice plant, which has mastered the ability to bind moisture, is the ideal component for:

Are ice plants erosive?

The air is alive with the warbles of robins, thrushes, and white-crowned sparrows in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area south of the Ft. Funston native plant nursery. The birds scour the hillsides for insects among the densely populated lupines, lizard tail, and coyote brush.

Turning around, though, reveals silence as you face the flats immediately to the north. The region is dominated by one kind of ice plant rather than a textured, silvery-green palette of native plants.

“According to George Durgerian, a park ranger at Fort Funston, it may as well be concrete to wildlife because it appears to be green.

From Baja California to the Oregon border, the ice plant covers the coastal bluffs of California, where its fleshy green leaves and yellow and pink blooms are well-known elements of the environment.

In fact, ice plant is so well-known that for long years people believed it to be a native plant of California. The springy succulent, however, is not. The invasive ice plant (Carpobrotus edulis) outcompetes the local flora. Numerous rare and endangered plant species are being pushed out by it, and the birds and small mammals that depend on those plants are also under risk. Additionally, it modifies soil chemistry and, in some cases, speeds up erosion.

According to Jake Sigg, head of the California Native Plant Society’s invasive exotics committee, it is a well-documented hazard to native ecosystems.

The invasion and displacement of entire biological groups worries those who care about preserving biological diversity.

The South African native ice plant is not the largest danger to California’s ecosystems. Other invasive species, including scotch broom and tamarisk, directly endanger native plants and are more difficult to eradicate. But when ice plant has established itself, especially in delicate environments like coastal dunes and prairie, it may wreak havoc on native species.

“According to botanist Peter Connors, reserve manager at the UC Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory, it is a very serious issue in particular coastal areas. ” All of the nearby grassland will be covered when runners are sent out across the surface, excluding everything else. Almost all of whatever plant community was present before has been lost.

The 250-acre region at Ft. Funston was covered by natural flora as recently as 70 years ago, according to rangers. However, the Army plowed over the sand dunes and planted ice plant when the location became a working Army base in the middle of the twentieth century. It had almost completely carpeted Ft. Funston by the late 1980s.

Now, volunteers and rangers are clearing it out of wide areas of land and reseeding with natural flora. On sections of the coastal cliffs, which serve as homes for the bank swallow, a vulnerable species in California, the need to exterminate was particularly pressing.

The smallest swallow in North America, this brown and white bird builds its nest on cliffs and banks that are almost vertical. At Fort Funston, the habitat of the bank swallow was hampered by ice plant that had taken over the majority of the beach cliff cliffs.

Additionally, volunteers are clearing ice plants from the Santa Monica Bay dunes in El Segundo. There, the once-prolific coast buckwheat, the main food source for the threatened El Segundo blue butterfly, has been replaced by ice plants. Both the butterflies and the coast buckwheat populations have decreased.

Additionally, ice plants can push out delicate plant species. Before Peter Connors of the Bodega Marine Laboratory found one, it was thought that the showy Indian clover, which has vivid purple and white blossoms, had gone extinct. Marin County’s population has increased little during that time. But if Connors and others didn’t watchfully eradicate the advancing ice plant, that would probably vanish.

The fact that ice plant alters the soil’s chemistry in ways that are still poorly understood is one factor contributing to its slyness.

“According to Carla D’Antonio, associate professor of integrative biology at UC Berkeley, it’s not fully apparent how enduring the changes are or how detrimental they are for healing.

According to D’Antonio, ice plants increase soil acidity and lower calcium, magnesium, and other mineral levels. This might make switching out ice plant with native plants more challenging.

Additionally, ice plant grows swiftly. According to Connors, the circular patches spread at a pace of roughly 3 feet each year in radius.

In part because it was inexpensive and spread quickly, Caltrans used to plant ice plants along highway and road embankments.

It was widely planted by the California Conservation Corps in the 1930s to prevent erosion. However, ice plants can increase erosion on steep hill sides. Conservationists claim that as the plant covering thickens, the weight of it can lift entire topsoil sheets off the ground.

“Sigg added that native plants, with their variety of root systems, anchor the soil better. It builds up massive biomass, and the cliffs occasionally collapse under the weight. “These local plants have flourished for thousands of years and we are grateful for that.

There are many nurseries that sell ice plants, and there are no laws that forbid their cultivation or sale.

“It is currently held responsible for being a bad plant. According to Jack Wick, regulatory consultant for the California Assn. of Nurserymen, we don’t understand the reasoning behind that. ” Stopping the sale of something that is already dispersed makes no sense.

According to Wick, the association supports coordinated initiatives to remove specific species. The challenge, according to him, is that species like ice plants should not be limited statewide because they only cause issues in specific locations.

Removal attempts are still limited and isolated in the interim. Most simply involve volunteers, including students, pulling the plants out of the ground.

The ice plant is relatively simple to remove. Only shallow roots and one huge tap root at the base of the plant serve as anchors for its runners, which can stretch for many yards.

“Fun is had. Larisa Stephan of Dune & Prairie, a Los Angeles-based organization that works to preserve the El Segundo Dunes, stated, “I enjoy it.” ” You experience immediate satisfaction. You can feel accomplished when you see the square yards of dirt that have been cleaned and the enormous mound of ice plant that is soon to be removed.