DELOSPERMA / PURPLE ICE PLANT: Properties, Uses and Benefits

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Family: Aizoaceae

Species: Delosperma

Common Names: Ice Plant, Delosperma, Crystalline Iceplant, Hardy Ice Plant

Delosperma is a succulent, perennial ground cover with daisy-like flowers. The plants grow to be 10-20 cm tall; foliage is mostly evergreen and make a great year-round ground cover. While the plant is evergreen, it will often lose part of foliage in winter; freezing temperatures combined with wet conditions.

CULTIVATION

Being a succulent, prefers full sun and very dry, sandy, poor soil. These plants don’t tolerate well wet, heavy soils and much fertilization. Ice Plant propagates by division, cuttings or seeds.
If propagating by division, it is best to divide the plants in the spring; while cuttings can be taken anytime from spring to fall. When grown by seeds, scatter the seeds on the surface of the soil without cover them with much soil, as they need light to germinate.

CULINARY USE OF DELOSPERMA

Leaves and stems are edible both raw or cooked. They can be cooked as you would with any other green leaf vegetable, rather than added to your healthy smoothies. Talking about its taste, consider that the leaves are sour, thick and very succulent with a slightly salty taste.

MEDICINAL PROPERTIES

The plant is demulcent and diuretic; with records of use in the treatment of inflammations of the pulmonary membranes. Leaves are used in the treatment of ascites, dysentery and diseases of the liver and kidney.
There are compounds in the plant that are very good at putting an end to inflammation. In fact, one of the most popular uses of Delosperma is for the treatment of minor skin problems. In this case a plant poultice is applied directly on the irritation.
Furthermore, the sap of the herb may also be added to bathwater for soothing large areas of the body that are irritated. Chewing on the tip of an Delosperma leaf is a well-known remedy for oral sores, the juice of the leaves can be directly applied onto oral sores for a faster healing process.