Mesembryanthemum acinaciforme Linn. Ficoideae. Hottentot Fig.
South Africa. This is one of the Hottentot figs of South Africa. The inner part of the fruit affords, says Mueller, a really palatable and copious food.
Mesembryanthemum aequilaterale Haw. Pig's Face.
Australia and South America. This is an Australian species whose fruit is eaten by the natives. The inner part of the fruit affords a palatable and copious food, according to Mueller. In California, say Brewer and Watson, the fruit is edible and pleasant. This is perhaps the species referred to by Parry as littoral in southern California and as having an edible, juicy fruit. In Australia, says J. Smith, the watery and insipid fruit is eaten by the natives. Wilhelmi says two varieties of this genus in Australia have fruit of an agreeable flavor and are eaten by the aborigines of the Port Lincoln district.
Mesembryanthemum anatomicum Haw. Canna Root. Kon.
South Africa. The Hottentots, says Thunberg, come far and near to obtain this shrub with the root, leaves and all, which they beat together and afterwards twist up like pig-tail tobacco; after which they let the mass ferment and keep it by them for chewing, especially when they are thirsty. If it be chewed immediately after the fermentation, it intoxicates.
Mesembryanthemum crystallinum Linn. Ice Plant.
Cape of Good Hope. The ice plant was introduced into Europe in 1727. It is advertised in American seed lists of 1881 as a desirable vegetable for boiling like spinach, or for garnishing. Vilmorin says the thickness and slightly acid flavor of the fleshy parts of the leaves have caused it to be used as a fresh table vegetable for summer use in warm, dry countries. It is, however, he adds, not without merit as an ornamental plant. Parry found this species growing in large masses in southern California.
Mesembryanthemum edule Linn. Hottentot Fig.
Cape of Good Hope. The mucilaginous capsules, says Captain Carmichael, are the chief material of an agreeable preserve. Figuier says the leaves are pickled as a substitute for the pickled cucumber, and Henfrey says the foliage is eaten at the Cape.
Mesembryanthemum forskahlei Hochst.
North Africa. The capsules are soaked and dried by the Bedouins, and the seeds separated for making bread, which, however, is not eaten by other Arabs.
Mesembryanthemum pugioniforme Linn.
South Africa. Its leaves form a good substitute for spinach.
Mesembryanthemum tortuosum Linn.
South Africa. This species possesses narcotic properties and is chewed by the Hottentots for the purpose of producing intoxication.
Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World, 1919, was edited by U. P. Hedrick.