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Crystalline ice plants

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The common ice plant has white flowers and fleshy leaves coated with glistening hairs that resemble ice. Despite its frosty name and looks, Mesembryanthemum crystallinum likes it warm and dry: It grows in saline regions, coastal bluffs, and cliffs. It is commonly called an ice plant because it is claimed that, even on the hottest day, the leaves are cool to the touch.

Mesembryanthemum crystallinum's genetic makeup has been widely studied by biologists for clues to its specific acid metabolism and adaptive responses to salinity stress. A gene index is available via The Institute for Genomic Research, in Rockville, Maryland, which can be accessed at TIGR Mesembryanthemum crystallinum Gene Index (McGI).

See also GNN's In the Literature Ice plants under stress

Birgit Reinert

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