Seaside photo shoot starring Crystalline Iceplant

When it comes to photos shared with me by Herb Walks participants, I have an embarrassment of riches. Here’s a beautiful shot of Crystalline Iceplant (Mesembryanthemum crystalline), the true “ice” plant, as you can see in this photo taken by Mandi Nuñez on the Seaside Wilderness Park Herb Walk on July 23, 2016. The crystalline icing really is made of water, stored in glistening bladder cells for this drought-tolerant native of Africa and the Mediterranean that is naturalized in our coastal sand dunes. Like other plants of the Coastal Strand plant community — think Pickleweed and Saltbush — that have adapted to growing in saline soil, it excretes salt onto its leaves (mostly in those bladder cells) giving it a pleasantly salty and slightly sour taste. The thick leaves and stems have the odd texture of olives. Thanks for sharing, Mandi!

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