Yerba vidriera (Mesembryanthemum nodiflorum)

The Mesembryanthemum nodiflorum is a flowering plant more commonly known by the following vernacular names: COSCO, coconut, or thin rod (Lanzarote). In the Canary Islands, it is particularly known by the name of cofe-cofe or yerba vidriera.

But what does nodiflorum mean ? How is this variety different from others of the same genus? This word means and according to the etymology of the word, a knotty flower, for which it evidently refers to the flowers present in the nodes of its stems, which appear mainly from February to July.

Characteristics of Mesembryanthemum nodiflorum

This plant shows green leaves early in life and purple when mature. Another defining characteristic is their papillae. Its flowers, approximately one centimeter in diameter, are solitary and white, with uneven and papilous sepals and yellow or white petals. It also has yellow anthers.

They are succulent plants, with fleshy leaves. It is common for a cushion of these plants to form on bare soil affected by sea salt, since they are often found in the vicinity of groups of seagulls and are adapted to live in warm areas and grow in saline soils.


All varieties of   Mesembryanthemum are plants that can be characterized as perennial, annual or biennial and whose origin is in southern Africa and different regions of Asia and Europe. The Mesembryanthemum nodiflorum in particular is native to both the African continent as the Spanish coasts as the island of Alboran and Canary Islands.


Its uses are varied and very useful, since it is used as a way to obtain soda and its seeds used to be extracted (more specifically, the original peoples of the Canary Islands made it) the gofio (food created from non-sifted flour). Currently it is also used as an ornamental plant.

Cultivation and care

Although they are delicate plants, they do not present major drawbacks as long as they are offered a place where they are in direct sunlight. These plants can even withstand droughts that would kill other types of flowers. In summer they should be watered only twice a week and it even becomes easier the rest of the year and they should only receive water every ten or fifteen days approximately.

You have to be careful with the fertilizer, this being optional. If you decide to use it, it is recommended to fertilize every 15 days with fertilizer for cacti and succulents since otherwise they can become invasive.

Reasons why you should buy succulents

Except for a particular case, succulent plants are inexpensive and reproduce easily, so you can have several specimens in a short time if that is what you want.

In addition, and taking up little space, they are ideal for decorating and beautifying apartment balconies or for small gardens. Their little need for irrigation makes them very opportune options for forgetful people or people with little free time in the middle of the whirlpool of their daily life.

While the benefits of succulents outweigh their disadvantages, we list some of the latter to give you the most complete picture possible. If you live in very cold areas, you will have difficulties in growing succulents. You must also take care that they do not burn.

Plagues and diseases

Our plants always need us to offer them protection and to take care of their well-being, even when Mesembryanthemum nodiflorum and in general, have a lot of resistance to pests and diseases. However, we cannot abandon them.

You need to be very careful with mollusks (snails and slugs) and fungi. These last unwanted visitors appear when you water too much and the leaves get wet (it is recommended that they always remain dry).

It is valid to remember that when we speak of diatomaceous earth we refer to a siliceous mineral made up of fossilized microscopic algae.  This type of soil penetrates the body of the snail or slug and kills it by dehydration. It comes in the form of a fine powder and a dose of approximately 30 grams per liter of water is recommended, that is, it must be dissolved in the shower.

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