its a weird little plant with a pink/ magenta stem and it looks like it is covered in sugar crystals. can you tell me what this is please.
This is called Ice Plant, the Livingstone Daisy, or more properly as Mesembryanthemum crystalinum - after the ice crystals, I'm thinking.
It's typically grown as an annual plant, in hot dry conditions, where it thrives.
The leaves and stems are typically more brightly colored in hot and bright situations, and when it blooms, each flower is a daisy shape in white or cream (the typical color that shows when it reverts back to it's wilder type) but in gardens you can see them in all shades of orange, salmon, peach, hot pink and darker pink, sometimes with a darker or lighter ring near the center.
The flowers only open in bright sunlight, and are short lived.
However, that's all it takes, because they can reseed prolifically. In one reference book I have it says that it's become commonplace in some areas in California, and obviously it's increasing its range.
The leaves are edible, and are sometimes thought to resemble New Zealand spinach. I leave it to you to experiment with that.
Fun little plants, with incredible tough character!