Plant Assessment Form

Mesembryanthemum crystallinum

Synonyms: Cryophytum crystallinum

Common Names: crystalline iceplant; common iceplant

Evaluated on: 12/21/04

List committee review date: 08/07/2005

Re-evaluation date:

Evaluator(s)

Elizabeth Brusati, project manager
California Invasive Plant Council
1442A Walnut St. #462, Berkeley, CA 94709
510-843-3902
edbrusati@cal-ipc.org
Joseph DiTomaso
University of California, Davis
Dept. Plant Sci., Mail Stop 4, Davis, CA 95616
530-754-8715
jmditomaso@ucdavis.edu

List commitee members

Jake Sigg
Peter Warner
Bob Case
John Knapp
Elizabeth Brusati

General Comments

No general comments for this species

Table 2. Criteria, Section, and Overall Scores

Overall Score? Moderate
Alert Status? Alert
Documentation? 3.5 out of 5
Score Documentation
1.1 ?Impact on abiotic ecosystem processes B Reviewed Scientific Publication
Impact?
Four-part score BCBD Total Score
B
1.2 ?Impact on plant community C. Minor Reviewed Scientific Publication
1.3 ?Impact on higher trophic levels B. Moderate Reviewed Scientific Publication
1.4 ?Impact on genetic integrity D. None Reviewed Scientific Publication
2.1 ?Role of anthropogenic and natural disturbance in establishment B. Moderate Reviewed Scientific Publication
Invasiveness?
Total Points
12 Total Score B
2.2 ?Local rate of spread with no management C. Stable Reviewed Scientific Publication
2.3 ?Recent trend in total area infested within state C. Stable Observational
2.4 ?Innate reproductive potential
(see Worksheet A)
A. High Reviewed Scientific Publication
2.5 ?Potential for human-caused dispersal A. High Reviewed Scientific Publication
2.6 ? Potential for natural long-distance dispersal C. Rare Reviewed Scientific Publication
2.7 ?Other regions invaded C. Already invaded Reviewed Scientific Publication
3.1 ?Ecological amplitude/Range
(see Worksheet C)
B. Moderate Reviewed Scientific Publication
Distribution?
Total Score C
3.2 ?Distribution/Peak frequency
(see Worksheet C)
D. Very low Observational

Table 3. Documentation

Scores are explained in the "Criteria for Categorizing Invasive Non-Native Plants that Threaten Wildlands".

Section 1: Impact
Question 1.1 Impact on abiotic ecosystem processes? B Reviewed Scientific Publication
Identify ecosystem processes impacted:

increases soil salt content, blocks light Iceplant accumulates salt in the soil, then releases it when the plant dies back (1, 2, 3). Salts remain in the soil for several years. Decomposes slowly, leaving biomass in place for several years (1). Not a problematic in California as Australia yet.


Sources of information:

1. Vivrette, N. J.,and C. H. Muller. 1977. Mechanism of invasion and dominance of coastal grassland by Mesembryanthemum crystallinum. Ecological Monographs. 47: 301-318
2. Kloot, P. M. 1983. The role of common iceplant (Mesembryanthemum crystallinum) in the deterioration of medic pastures. Australian Journal of Ecology. 8:301-306.
3. El-Ghareeb, R. 1991. Vegetation and soil changes induced by Mesembryanthemum crystallinum L. in a Mediterranean desert ecosystem. Journal of Arid Environments. 20:321-330


Question 1.2 Impact on plant community composition,
structure, and interactions?
C Reviewed Scientific Publication
Identify type of impact or alteration:

Inhibits colonization by grassland species. Late in season, blocks light (1). Does not generally form such dense colonies though so the impacts are more moderate. Salts released by iceplant favor germination of salt-tolerant species (like itself) while inhibiting grasses (1, 2). Few grass seedlings can establish under iceplant because of the high salt content of water washing through the plant (1). Decreases density and cover of annuals (3). However, does not create changes that are severe as Carpobrotus edulis (4).


Sources of information:

1. Vivrette and Muller 1977
2. Kloot 1983
3. El-Ghareeb 1991
4. Peter Warner, California State Parks, corylus@earthlink.net. Personal observations.


Question 1.3 Impact on higher trophic levels? B Reviewed Scientific Publication
Identify type of impact or alteration:

reduces habitat quality for grassland species Rabbits and mice eat iceplant only after other forage is removed. Mice tunnel through it to reach grasses.


Sources of information:

Vivrette and Muller 1977


Question 1.4 Impact on genetic integrity? D Reviewed Scientific Publication

none no related native species


Sources of information:

Randall, J. J. 2000. Mesembryanthemum crystallinum. pp. 244-246 in Bossard, C. M., J. M. Randall, and M. C. Hoshovsky (ed.) Invasive plants of California's wildlands. University of California Press. Berkeley, CA.


Section 2: Invasiveness
Question 2.1 Role of anthropogenic and natural disturbance
in establishment?
C Reviewed Scientific Publication
Describe role of disturbance:

Needs open disturbed areas for establishment. Does not grow well in intact grassland.


Sources of information:

Vivrette and Muller 1977


Question 2.2 Local rate of spread with no management? C Reviewed Scientific Publication
Describe rate of spread:

Does not spread quickly.


Sources of information:

Peter Warner, California State Parks, corylus@earthlink.net, personal observations


Question 2.3 Recent trend in total area infested within state? C Observational
Describe trend:

Sources of information:

Peter Warner, California State Parks, corylus@earthlink.net, personal observations


Question 2.4 Innate reproductive potential? A Reviewed Scientific Publication
Describe key reproductive characteristics:

Succulent, prostrate, annual herb. Flowers March to June but a few plants flowering at any time of year. Staggered germination of seeds throughout the year. Fruiting occurs June to August. Plants die in summer (1). Can rapidly take over an area once established (1,2) Need more specific information to fill out worksheet.


Sources of information:

1.Vivrette and Muller 1977
2. Abbott, I., N. Marchant, and R. Cranfield. 2000. Long-term change in the floristic composition and vegetation structure of Carnac Island, Western Australia. Journal of Biogeography. 27:333-346


Question 2.5 Potential for human-caused dispersal? A Reviewed Scientific Publication
Identify dispersal mechanisms:

Used for landscaping by Caltrans and by gardeners. Can invade areas disturbed by grazing.


Sources of information:

Randall 2000


Question 2.6 Potential for natural long-distance dispersal? C Reviewed Scientific Publication
Identify dispersal mechanisms:

Doesn't seem to have mechanisms for long-distance dispersal. Seeds dispersed by rabbits and mice


Sources of information:

Randall 2000


Question 2.7 Other regions invaded? C Reviewed Scientific Publication
Identify other regions:

Australia (1, 2), Egypt (3), Mexico, Chile (4)


Sources of information:

1. Abbott et al. 2000
2. Kloot 1983
3. El-Ghareeb 1991
4. Vivrette and Muller 1977


Section 3: Distribution
Question 3.1 Ecological amplitude/Range? B Reviewed Scientific Publication

Mostly colonizes coastal bluffs (1). Can colonize grasslands up to 8 miles inland (2). May have been introduced in ship ballast as early as the 1500's. Occurs from San Francisco Bay to Mexico and on Channel Islands (2).


Sources of information:

1. Vivrette and Muller 1977
2. Randall 2000


Question 3.2 Distribution/Peak frequency? D Observational
Describe distribution:

Sources of information:

Warner, observational


Worksheet A - Innate reproductive potential

Reaches reproductive maturity in 2 years or less Yes
Dense infestations produce >1,000 viable seed per square meter No
Populations of this species produce seeds every year. Yes
Seed production sustained over 3 or more months within a population annually Yes
Seeds remain viable in soil for three or more years No
Viable seed produced with both self-pollination and cross-pollination Unknown
Has quickly spreading vegetative structures (rhizomes, roots, etc.) that may root at nodes Yes
Fragments easily and fragments can become established elsewhere Yes
Resprouts readily when cut, grazed, or burned Unknown
Total points: 6
Total unknowns: 2
Total score: A?

Related traits:

Worksheet B - Arizona Ecological Types is not included here

Worksheet C - California Ecological Types

(sensu Holland 1986)
Major Ecological Types Minor Ecological Types Code?
Marine Systemsmarine systems
Freshwater and Estuarine lakes, ponds, reservoirs
Aquatic Systemsrivers, streams, canals
estuaries
Dunescoastal
desert
interior
Scrub and Chaparralcoastal bluff scrubD, < 5%
coastal scrub
Sonoran desert scrub
Mojavean desert scrub (incl. Joshua tree woodland)
Great Basin scrub
chenopod scrub
montane dwarf scrub
Upper Sonoran subshrub scrub
chaparral
Grasslands, Vernal Pools, Meadows, and other Herb Communitiescoastal prairieD, < 5%
valley and foothill grassland
Great Basin grassland
vernal pool
meadow and seep
alkali playa
pebble plain
Bog and Marshbog and fen
marsh and swamp
Riparian and Bottomland habitatriparian forest
riparian woodland
riparian scrub (incl.desert washes)
Woodlandcismontane woodland
piñon and juniper woodland
Sonoran thorn woodland
Forestbroadleaved upland forest
North Coast coniferous forest
closed cone coniferous forest
lower montane coniferous forest
upper montane coniferous forest
subalpine coniferous forest
Alpine Habitatsalpine boulder and rock field
alpine dwarf scrub
Amplitude (breadth): B
Distribution (highest score): D

Infested Jepson Regions

Click here for a map of Jepson regions

  • Central West
  • Northwest
  • Southwest