Plant Assessment Form

Mesembryanthemum nodiflorum

Synonyms: Cryophytum nodiflorum; Gasoul nodiflorum; Aridaria paucandra; Cryophytum gibbosum; Cryophytum rogersii

Common Names: slenderleaf iceplant; small flowered iceplant

Evaluated on: 22-Dec-16

List committee review date: 26/01/2017

Re-evaluation date:

Evaluator(s)

Mona Robison/Science Program Manager
Cal-IPC
916-802-2004
rrobison@cal-ipc.org

List commitee members

Jutta Burger
Naomi Fraga
Denise Knapp
Chris McDonald
Ron Vanderhoff
John Knapp
Elizabeth Brusati

General Comments

No general comments for this species

Table 2. Criteria, Section, and Overall Scores

Overall Score? Limited
Alert Status? No Alert
Documentation? 3.5 out of 5
Score Documentation
1.1 ?Impact on abiotic ecosystem processes B Reviewed Scientific Publication
Impact?
Four-part score BBCD Total Score
B
1.2 ?Impact on plant community B. Moderate Reviewed Scientific Publication
1.3 ?Impact on higher trophic levels C. Minor 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
9 Total Score C
2.2 ?Local rate of spread with no management C. Stable Observational
2.3 ?Recent trend in total area infested within state C. Stable Observational
2.4 ?Innate reproductive potential
(see Worksheet A)
B. Moderate Reviewed Scientific Publication
2.5 ?Potential for human-caused dispersal C. Low 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)
A. Widespread Reviewed Scientific Publication
Distribution?
Total Score B
3.2 ?Distribution/Peak frequency
(see Worksheet C)
D. Very low Reviewed Scientific Publication

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:

Mesembryanthemum crystallinum and M. nodiflorum are salt accumulators. After plant death, the salt leaches from the decaying plant into the surrounding soil. This increased salinity stops other, less salt-tolerant species from establishing. More information is available on salt accumulation by M. crystallinum than for M. nodiflorum, but it is assumed that the mechanisms and ecosystem results are similar for both species.


Sources of information:

El-Ghareeb 1991
Kloot 1983
Vivrette and Muller 1977


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

Excluding native plants, possibly altering soil conditions (see Question 1.1). On Santa Barbara Island, crystalline iceplant, Mesembryanthemum crystallinum, forms large, dense patches and accumulates salt to the extent that all other species are generally excluded. A common associate is another annual iceplant, Mesembryanthemum nodiflorum. This is a serious management problem because only periodically are salt-tolerant shrubs such as Suaeda californica able to establish, if they can overtop the iceplant rapidly enough to overcome the shading effects. Otherwise, the iceplant leads to the extirpation of other plants from the area and then to erosion problems (Halvorson 1992).

On the Channel Islands, M. nodiflorum is found in bare areas along the coastline extending in 1/4 mile. These sites are known locations of several rare and federally listed Malacothrix species (Knapp, J. pers. comm.).

Knapp and Garoutte (2016) found a strong negative impact of Mesembryanthemum crystallinum on native plant diversity and (related) arthropod diversity at two of three study sites on San Nicolas Island.


Sources of information:

Halvorson 1992 in Stone 1992.
Cypher 2010
Knapp and Garoutte 2016
Knapp, J. Personal communication.


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

Causes oxalate poisoning in sheep. Ice plant was a primary food item for island foxes (>10% frequency of occurrence in scats) during two seasons on San Clemente, three seasons on San Miguel and all four seasons on San Nicolas. Although these plants are providing a benefit to foxes by increasing the diversity of available food items, these plants also may be excluding native species. Reducing or eliminating these non-native plants probably could be conducted without adverse impacts to foxes, with the exception of San Nicolas. On this island, foxes may be at least partially dependent on these species and any reductions should be conducted gradually and preferably in conjunction with active restoration of native species to provide alternate foods for foxes (Cypher 2010).

Knapp and Garoutte (2016) found a strong negative impact of Mesembryanthemum crystallinum on native plant diversity and (related) arthropod diversity at two of three study sites on San Nicolas Island.


Sources of information:

Cypher 2010
Halvorson 1992 in Stone 1992
Jacob and Peet 1989
Knapp and Garoutte 2016


Question 1.4 Impact on genetic integrity? D Reviewed Scientific Publication

There are no native species in the Mesembryanthemum genus which M. nodiflorum could hybridize with in California. There are a few native species in the Aizoaceae, but not in the Mesembryanthemum genus.


Sources of information:

Jepson eFlora 2016


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

M. chrystallinum needs open disturbed areas for establishment and does not grow well in intact grassland. It is assumed that M. nodiflorum has similar requirements.


Sources of information:

Vivrette and Muller 1977


Question 2.2 Local rate of spread with no management? C Observational
Describe rate of spread:

In the south coastal region this species has been present for a century or more with numerous collections and records over that period. During this period it has colonized much or most of the suitable habitat (saline coastal bluff and bluff scrub on packed, exposed soils). At its current level of establishment I suggest, at least in this region, that it may be difficult to assess its rate of spread, since it has already filled much of the suitable habitat (Vanderhoff, pers. comm.). In inland southern California it is not as invasive as along the coast, but it is fairly common (Fraga, pers. comm.).


Sources of information:

Fraga, N. Personal communication.
Vanderhoff, R. Personal communication.


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

In the south coastal region this species has been present for a century or more with numerous collections and records over that period. During this period it has colonized much or most of the suitable habitat (saline coastal bluff and bluff scrub on packed, exposed soils). At its current level of establishment I suggest, at least in this region, that it may be difficult to assess its rate of spread, since it has already filled much of the suitable habitat (Vanderhoff, pers. comm. Knapp, J. pers. comm.). On the Channel Islands it is stable and has reached its distribution (J. Knapp, pers. comm.). Sayers reports seeing more in San Luis Obispo area recently.


Sources of information:

Knapp, J. Personal communication.
Sayers, J. Personal communication.
Vanderhoff, R. Personal communication.


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

M. nodiflorum reproduces by seed. Seeds are produced in winter after rains. In California flowering occurs from March to August. During the first few years after seed maturation, the seeds are in a state of primary dormancy and none germinate. In its native habitat, M. nodiflorum seeds adhere to the soil and become part of the soil surface crust for many years until they germinate. Germination is regulated by the amount of rain that dilutes the salts that accumulate near the soil surface. There is no information available on vegetative reproduction or spread of M. nodiflorum, but since it is an annual species it is assumed to not reproduce vegetatively (Vanderhoff, pers. comm.).


Sources of information:

Calflora 2016
Gutterman and Gendler 2005
Vivrette and Muller 1977
Vanderhoff, R. Personal communication.


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

M. crystallinum is used for landscaping by Caltrans and by gardeners and can invade areas disturbed by grazing. M. crystallinum, and it is assumed M. nodiflorum, are able to invade disturbed areas created by human activities. M. nodiflorum is not commonly available horticulturally, but seeds are available on-line.


Sources of information:

Randall 2000
Vivrette and Muller 1977


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

Seeds are dispersed by water and adhere to the soil surface. The reference (Gutterman and Gendler 2005) does not list the distance traveled. M. crystallinum is dispersed by rabbits and mice, so that could occur with M. nodiflorum.


Sources of information:

Gutterman and Gendler 2005.
Randall 2000
Vivrette and Muller 1977


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

M. nodiflorum is native to South Africa. Other regions invaded are in Oregon, Arizona, Mexico, Europe and southern Australia.

In Australia, Mesembryanthemum crystallinum and M. nodiflorum are found on wide range of soil types, from well-drained sandy soils (including sand dunes), to loams and clays. They prefer acid, neutral or alkaline soils, but can tolerate nutritionally poor or saline soils. They occur in a range of vegetation communities, including saltmarsh, samphire flats eucalypt woodlands and shrublands, and as with many introduced species, also grow in disturbed sites such as roadsides, rubbish dumps and homestead yards. In California, M. nodiflorum is found in coastal bluffs, salty flats in the interior of the coastal slopes, and saline wetland margins, areas which are similar to those invaded in Australia and elsewhere. The Pacific Islands in Mexico within the California Floristic Province is invaded in the same habitat types as the Channel Islands (Knapp, J. pers. comm.).


Sources of information:

DiTomaso and Healy 2007
Australia CSIRO 2004
Knapp, J. Personal communication.


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

In California, M. nodiflorum is found in coastal bluffs, salty flats in the interior of the coastal slopes, and saline wetland margins. It occurs in coastal, inland and desert habitats from San Diego north to the San Francisco Bay Area, with one outlying population in Glenn County. The first herbarium specimen in California was collected in 1882 in San Diego. Based on specimens in CCH, appears to have first been introduced along the coast and on the Channel Islands, then spread inland along roads in the 1960s and 70s, and began being collected inland in the 1990s. In inland Southern California its around in the usual low alkaline places, in western Riverside County. Populations are scattered and typically not terribly large, but can be locally fairly common. Its in the Perris Basin and on the alkaline flats west of Hemet mostly, but some in the Elsinore-Temescal area. In open sites, seasonally wet, fine alkaline clay soils (Sanders, pers. comm). Also observed around Lake Elsinore in semi-saline soils of the dry lakebed, and along the outlet drainage down into Temescal Canyon (Boyd, pers. comm.). Also seen along riparian corridors along the Santa Clara River in Ventura County (Fraga, pers. comm.). Invades the Pacific Islands in Mexico within the California Floristic Province (Knapp, J. pers. comm.).


Sources of information:

DiTomaso and Healy 2007
CCH 1882
Calflora 2016
Boyd, S. Personal communication.
Fraga, N. Personal communication.
Knapp, J. Personal communication.
Sanders, A. Personal communication.


Question 3.2 Distribution/Peak frequency? D Reviewed Scientific Publication
Describe distribution:

In California, M. nodiflorum is found in coastal bluffs, salty flats in the interior of the coastal slopes, and saline wetland margins. It occurs in coastal, inland and desert habitats from San Diego north to the San Francisco Bay Area, with one outlying population in Glenn County. In all cases it occupies < 5% of the area of that ecological type in California.


Sources of information:

Calflora 2016
DiTomaso and Healy 2007
Knapp, J. Personal communication.


Worksheet A - Innate reproductive potential

Reaches reproductive maturity in 2 years or less Yes
Dense infestations produce >1,000 viable seed per square meter Unknown
Populations of this species produce seeds every year. Yes
Seed production sustained over 3 or more months within a population annually Unknown
Seeds remain viable in soil for three or more years Yes
Viable seed produced with both self-pollination and cross-pollination Unknown
Has quickly spreading vegetative structures (rhizomes, roots, etc.) that may root at nodes No
Fragments easily and fragments can become established elsewhere No
Resprouts readily when cut, grazed, or burned Unknown
Total points: 4
Total unknowns: 4
Total score: B?

Related traits:

There is no specific information on the vegetative spread of M. nodiflorum. Populations of this species produce seeds every year (Knapp, J. pers. comm.).

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
DunescoastalD, < 5%
desert
interior
Scrub and Chaparralcoastal bluff scrubD, < 5%
coastal scrubD, < 5%
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 playaD, < 5%
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