Ice Plant Trivia Questions and Answers

1: Which plant family is commonly known as ‘ice plants’ or ‘carpet weeds’?
A: Asteraceae
B: Fabaceae
C: Aizoaceae
D: Liliaceae
Correct Answer: C
Explanation: The ‘ice plants’ or ‘carpet weeds’ belong to the Aizoaceae family, which contains about 135 genera and 1800 species.

2: What is the common name for the ice plant in South Africa and New Zealand?
A: Vygies
B: Ficoid
C: Crystals
D: Pebbles
Correct Answer: A
Explanation: In South Africa and New Zealand, ice plants are commonly referred to as ‘vygies’.

3: What nickname is given to some unusual Southern African genera like Lithops and Conophytum?
A: Rock plants
B: Gemstones
C: Living stones
D: Flowering crystals
Correct Answer: C
Explanation: Genera like Lithops and Conophytum resemble gemstones, rocks, or pebbles and are sometimes called ‘living stones’.

4: Which family was previously known by the botanical name “Ficoidaceae”?
A: Aizoaceae
B: Poaceae
C: Rosaceae
D: Apiaceae
Correct Answer: A
Explanation: The Aizoaceae family was once known as “Ficoidaceae,” but this name is now disallowed.

5: What distinctive feature of the ice plant inspired its common name?
A: Glistening epidermal bladder cells
B: Frost-covered leaves
C: Snow-like flowers
D: Shimmering roots
Correct Answer: A
Explanation: The family gets its name “ice plants” from the glistening epidermal bladder cells on the plants.

6: Where are most species of the ice plant family endemic?
A: Southern Africa
B: North America
C: Europe
D: South America
Correct Answer: A
Explanation: Most species in the ice plant family are endemic to arid or semi-arid parts of Southern Africa.

7: What characteristic do most fig-marigolds have in terms of their growth habit?
A: Herbaceous
B: Woody
C: Climbing
D: Aquatic
Correct Answer: A
Explanation: Most fig-marigolds, which are part of the ice plant family, are herbaceous and rarely somewhat woody.

8: How do some ice plant species disperse their seeds?
A: Wind
B: Animals
C: Jet action when wet
D: Exploding seed pods
Correct Answer: C
Explanation: Some ice plant species disperse seeds by “jet action” when wet, which is a hygrochastic mechanism.

9: During which period did the ice plant family undergo a significant radiation?
A: 1.13–6.49 million years ago
B: 10–15 million years ago
C: 20–25 million years ago
D: 30–35 million years ago
Correct Answer: A
Explanation: The radiation of the ice plant family, specifically the subfamily Ruschioideae, occurred 1.13–6.49 million years ago.

10: Which carbon fixation pathways are used by the ice plant family?
A: C3 only
B: C4 only
C: Both CAM and C4
D: CAM only
Correct Answer: C
Explanation: The ice plant family includes species that use both crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) and C4 carbon fixation pathways.

11: How many genera are recognized in the Subfamily Aizooideae of the ice plant family?
A: 3
B: 5
C: 7
D: 10
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: The Subfamily Aizooideae includes five recognized genera.

12: Which subfamily includes genera like Mesembryanthemum and Aptenia?
A: Acrosanthoideae
B: Aizooideae
C: Mesembryanthemoideae
D: Ruschioideae
Correct Answer: C
Explanation: The subfamily Mesembryanthemoideae includes genera such as Mesembryanthemum and Aptenia.

13: What is a popular house plant from the ice plant family due to its stone-like appearance?
A: Sesuvium
B: Lithops
C: Carpobrotus
D: Mesembryanthemum
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: Lithops, also known as “living stones,” are popular novelty house plants because of their stone-like appearance.

14: Which subfamily of the ice plant family includes C4 species?
A: Acrosanthoideae
B: Aizooideae
C: Mesembryanthemoideae
D: Sesuvioideae
Correct Answer: D
Explanation: The Subfamily Sesuvioideae includes several C4 species.

15: Which ice plant species is known as a garden plant alternative to spinach?
A: Mesembryanthemum crystallinum
B: Carpobrotus edulis
C: Tetragonia tetragonoides
D: Dorotheanthus
Correct Answer: C
Explanation: Tetragonia tetragonoides, commonly known as “New Zealand spinach,” is used as an alternative to spinach in gardens and upscale salads.

16: What was the original purpose of introducing Carpobrotus edulis to California?
A: Ornamental planting
B: Food crop
C: Soil stabilization
D: Fire prevention
Correct Answer: C
Explanation: Carpobrotus edulis was introduced to California in the early 1900s to stabilize soil along railroad tracks.

17: What botanical feature do ice plant leaves commonly exhibit?
A: Hairy texture
B: Succulence
C: Serrated edges
D: Variegated colors
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: Ice plant leaves are typically succulent, aiding in water conservation in arid environments.

18: What is the pronunciation of the South African colloquial name “vygie”?
A: “Vee-gee”
B: “Vy-jee”
C: “Vigh-jee”
D: “Vie-gee”
Correct Answer: D
Explanation: The South African colloquial name “vygie” is pronounced “vie-gee.”

19: Which genus in the ice plant family can be recognized by its jet action seed dispersion?
A: Lithops
B: Drosanthemum
C: Conophytum
D: Delosperma
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: Drosanthemum is one genus known for its jet action seed dispersion mechanism.

20: How does the diversification rate of the ice plant family compare to other angiosperms?
A: Slower
B: Similar
C: Faster
D: The fastest
Correct Answer: C
Explanation: The diversification rate of the ice plant family is among the fastest described in the angiosperms, with roughly 4.4 species per million years.

21: Which taxonomic order does the ice plant family belong to?
A: Caryophyllales
B: Rosales
C: Asterales
D: Fabales
Correct Answer: A
Explanation: The ice plant family is assigned to the order Caryophyllales.

22: What type of growth do most fig-marigold stems exhibit?
A: Climbing
B: Sympodial
C: Rhizomatic
D: Twining
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: Most fig-marigolds have sympodial growth, which involves a lateral branch taking over as the main stem.

23: Which South African region is known for its high plant diversity where many ice plants are found?
A: Drakensberg
B: Kalahari
C: Greater Cape Floristic Region
D: Namib Desert
Correct Answer: C
Explanation: The Greater Cape Floristic Region is known for its high plant diversity and is home to many species of the ice plant family.

24: What is the ecological benefit of ice plants in gardens regarding fire control?
A: They are fire-resistant
B: They prevent erosion
C: They deter pests
D: They improve soil fertility
Correct Answer: A
Explanation: In southern California, ice plants are sometimes used as firewalls because they are fire-resistant, although they can burn if not maintained.

25: What historical botanical name was disallowed for the ice plant family?
A: Ruschioideae
B: Mesembryanthemoideae
C: Ficoidaceae
D: Sesuvioideae
Correct Answer: C
Explanation: The historical botanical name “Ficoidaceae” for the ice plant family is now disallowed.

26: Which subfamily within the ice plant family includes genera like Acrosanthes?
A: Acrosanthoideae
B: Aizooideae
C: Mesembryanthemoideae
D: Ruschioideae
Correct Answer: A
Explanation: The genus Acrosanthes falls under the subfamily Acrosanthoideae.

27: What is the main diet pathway followed by species in the ice plant family?
A: Photosynthesis
B: CAM (Crassulacean Acid Metabolism)
C: Heterotrophic nutrition
D: Parasitism
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: Many species in the ice plant family follow CAM (Crassulacean Acid Metabolism) for carbon fixation.

28: How are seeds in the ice plant family dispersed?
A: Wind
B: Water jet action
C: Animals
D: Gravity
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: Seeds in some species of the ice plant family are dispersed by water jet action when hydrated.

29: Which term accurately describes the leaves of ice plants?
A: Deciduous
B: Aromatic
C: Succulent
D: Compound
Correct Answer: C
Explanation: The leaves of ice plants are typically succulent to conserve water in arid environments.

30: Which plant found in the ice plant family is invasive in California?
A: Mesembryanthemum crystallinum
B: Carpobrotus edulis
C: Tetragonia tetragonoides
D: Dorotheanthus
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: Carpobrotus edulis is invasive in California, where it was initially introduced for soil stabilization.

31: Which subfamily of the ice plant includes the diversity of stone-like plants?
A: Acrosanthoideae
B: Aizooideae
C: Mesembryanthemoideae
D: Ruschioideae
Correct Answer: D
Explanation: The subfamily Ruschioideae includes many of the stone-like “living stones” such as Lithops and Conophytum.

32: What specific climatic regions are species from the ice plant family adapted to?
A: Tropical
B: Arid and semiarid
C: Alpine
D: Aquatic
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: Species in the ice plant family are primarily adapted to arid and semiarid regions.

33: What percentage of species in the ice plant family are found in Southern Africa?
A: 75%
B: 80%
C: 85%
D: 96%
Correct Answer: D
Explanation: About 96% of species in the ice plant family are found in Southern Africa.

34: Which genera in the ice plant family are known for their gemstone-like appearance?
A: Lithops and Conophytum
B: Sesuvium and Trianthema
C: Carpobrotus and Fenestraria
D: Drosanthemum and Delosperma
Correct Answer: A
Explanation: Lithops and Conophytum are known for their gemstone-like appearance referred to as “living stones.”

35: Mesembryanthemum is a synonym for which subfamily?
A: Acrosanthoideae
B: Aizooideae
C: Mesembryanthemoideae
D: Ruschioideae
Correct Answer: C
Explanation: Mesembryanthemum is a synonym and belongs to the subfamily Mesembryanthemoideae.

36: Which genus within the ice plant family contains the species commonly used in salads?
A: Tetragonia
B: Sesuvium
C: Lithops
D: Dorotheanthus
Correct Answer: A
Explanation: Tetragonia tetragonoides, also called “New Zealand spinach,” is used in salads.

37: How do ice plants contribute ecologically in soil management?
A: Enhancing fertility
B: Preventing erosion
C: Controlling pests
D: Field rotation
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: Ice plants, particularly Carpobrotus edulis, have been used to prevent soil erosion, such as along railroad tracks.

38: What triggered the radiation and diversification of the ice plant family?
A: Climate change
B: Geological uplifting
C: Availability of new niches
D: All of the above
Correct Answer: D
Explanation: The radiation and rapid diversification of the ice plant family were likely triggered by factors like climate change, geological uplifting, and availability of new niches.

39: What feature allows ice plant leaves to retain water?
A: Waxy surface
B: Epidermal bladder cells
C: Fuzzy coating
D: Deep rooting system
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: Epidermal bladder cells on ice plant leaves help retain water, making them suitable for arid environments.

40: Which subfamily is characterized by the presence of succulent leaves and jet action seed dispersal?
A: Acrosanthoideae
B: Aizooideae
C: Mesembryanthemoideae
D: Ruschioideae
Correct Answer: C
Explanation: The subfamily Mesembryanthemoideae is characterized by succulent leaves and jet action seed dispersal.

41: The diversification of ice plants coincided with which other plant lineages?
A: Orchids and Grasses
B: Fungi and Algae
C: Cacti and Agave
D: Pines and Ferns
Correct Answer: C
Explanation: The diversification of ice plants was roughly contemporaneous with major radiations in cacti and agave lineages.

42: What type of margins do the leaves of fig-marigolds generally have?
A: Serrated
B: Smooth
C: Lobed
D: Compound
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: Fig-marigold leaves generally exhibit smooth margins, although occasionally they may be toothed.

43: In what part of the plant do ice plant flowers typically develop?
A: Nodes
B: Leaf axils
C: Tips
D: Base
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: Ice plant flowers typically develop from the leaf axils.

44: Which evolutionary process contributed to the diversity of the ice plant family over millions of years?
A: Slow adaptation
B: Rapid radiation
C: Gradual mutation
D: Steady hybridization
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: The ice plant family underwent one of the fastest radiations ever described among angiosperms.

45: Identify the growth form exhibited by living stone plants like Lithops.
A: Prostrate
B: Columnar
C: Rosette
D: Upright
Correct Answer: C
Explanation: Living stone plants like Lithops grow in a rosette form, which helps them blend into their stony environments.

46: What are one of the primary uses of Carpobrotus edulis aside from soil stabilization?
A: Medicinal purposes
B: Edible fruits and leaves
C: Ornamental gardening
D: Pest control
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: Carpobrotus edulis has edible fruits and leaves, making it useful beyond its soil stabilization properties.

47: Why are ice plants considered suitable for gardens in dry climates?
A: They require minimal maintenance
B: They are resistant to pests
C: They have high water retention capabilities
D: All of the above
Correct Answer: D
Explanation: Ice plants are suitable for gardens in dry climates because they require minimal maintenance, are pest resistant, and have high water retention capabilities.

48: What kind of photosynthetic pathway is used by the subfamily Sesuvioideae within the ice plant family?
A: CAM
B: C3
C: C4
D: Photorespiration
Correct Answer: C
Explanation: The subfamily Sesuvioideae within the ice plant family includes several species that use the C4 photosynthetic pathway.

49: The glistening appearance of ice plants’ leaves is a result of what cellular feature?
A: Chloroplasts
B: Epidermal bladder cells
C: Stomata
D: Xylem vessels
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: The glistening appearance of ice plants’ leaves is due to the presence of epidermal bladder cells.

50: What makes the Greater Cape Floristic Region significant in the study of the ice plant family?
A: Its tropical climate
B: High rainfalls
C: Greatest plant diversity in a temperate region
D: Its elevation
Correct Answer: C
Explanation: The Greater Cape Floristic Region is significant because it has the greatest plant diversity in a temperate region, with many species being endemic to the area.

51: Which plant family alongside ice plants underwent diversification around the same time?
A: Fabaceae
B: Cactaceae
C: Poaceae
D: Rosaceae
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: The Cactaceae family underwent a major diversification contemporaneously with the ice plants.

52: Why are some species of ice plants used as novelty house plants?
A: Their rapid growth
B: Their medicinal properties
C: Their appearance resembling stones
D: Their aromatic flowers
Correct Answer: C
Explanation: Some species of ice plants, like Lithops, are used as novelty house plants because their appearance resembles stones.

53: Which edible ice plant species is used as an alternative to spinach?
A: Aizoon
B: Carpobrotus edulis
C: Tetragonia tetragonoides
D: Sesuvium portulacastrum
Correct Answer: C
Explanation: Tetragonia tetragonoides, also known as “New Zealand spinach,” is used as an alternative to spinach.

54: What is the common feature among most seed capsules in the ice plant family?
A: Hygrochastic dispersion
B: Windborne dispersion
C: Animal ingestion
D: Explosive self-opening
Correct Answer: A
Explanation: Most seed capsules in the ice plant family are hygrochastic, dispersing seeds by jet action when wet.

55: What characteristic growth pattern is found in the subfamily Ruschioideae?
A: Climbers
B: Erect stems
C: Prostrate forms
D: Both erect and prostrate forms
Correct Answer: D
Explanation: In the subfamily Ruschioideae, both erect and prostrate growth forms can be found.

56: Which genera in the ice plant family are noted for their succulent leaves and flowers emerging from leaf axils?
A: Conophytum
B: Lithops
C: Mesembryanthemum
D: Delosperma
Correct Answer: C
Explanation: Mesembryanthemum is known for its succulent leaves and flowers that commonly emerge from leaf axils.

57: How do ice plants assist in fire control in certain regions?
A: They create fire-resistant barriers
B: They reduce combustible material
C: They trap moisture
D: All of the above
Correct Answer: D
Explanation: Ice plants assist in fire control by creating fire

58: What is the core clade to which the ice plant family is assigned?
A: Monocots
B: Basal Angiosperms
C: Eudicots
D: Magnoliids
Correct Answer: C
Explanation: The ice plant family is assigned to the core clade Eudicots.

59: Mesembryanthemum crystallinum is commonly grown for what purpose?
A: Ornamental use
B: Edible leaves
C: Medicinal properties
D: Pollinator attraction
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: Mesembryanthemum crystallinum is commonly grown for its edible leaves.

60: What nickname is derived from the Mesembryanthemum genus meaning “midday flowering”?
A: Sun jewels
B: Noon flowers
C: Day blooms
D: Solar petals
Correct Answer: B
Explanation: The nickname “noon flowers” is derived from Mesembryanthemum, which means “midday flowering” since the flowers typically open in the middle of the day.

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