Ice plant 冰菜

The scientific name of the ice plant is Mesembryanthemum, literally meaning mid day flower. The flower of the ice plant would close up at night time and only open when the sun is at its highest, to protect its gametes (reproductive organs) from night dews and frost.
Ice plant is native to southern Africa. It only reached Europe and America in the 18th century. Ice plant is named for its glistening and transparent swellings all over the surface of the leaves and stems. Both the leaves and the stems are edible and gives a great crunch when eaten either raw or cooked. The leaves and stems are very thick and succulent with a slightly salty tang to them.
The ice plant accumulates salt. When the plant dies, salt is leached out into the soil, making it difficult for anything else to germinate in saline soils. It is surprising a plant with such high water content can thrive in arid climates. The “pores” on the leaves will hold their breath during the day, and only breath after the sun goes down, to preserve as much moisture as possible. The ice plants are so full of moisture, the Californians plant them around their houses to protect their properties against wildfires.

亞蘭:「天氣真的有哪麼熱嗎?看他全身上下都是汗水,是苦力嗎?外表怎麼怪怪的。」
亞瓜:「他是冰菜噢,本住南非現在移民到亞洲來了,聽說剛在中國參與了水耕計劃,土耕水耕都可以啊。」
亞蘭:「看他身上的水晶汗在閃閃發亮哩。」
亞瓜:「是啊,因為葉上有鹽份,美國的人會叫冰菜來防止山火和水土流失。」
亞蘭:「嘩,不得了,消防工作都能幹呀,太出色的物種了吧,我們可以被淘汰了。」
亞瓜:「不過聽說他脾氣怪怪,住過的地方都不歡迎其他植物居住,因為他會把自己的鹽份留在泥土中,其他的植物可住不下了。」

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