T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Carpobrotus edulis (Hottentot fig)

Kingdom: Plantae
(Unranked): Angiosperms
(Unranked): Eudicots
(Unranked): Core eudicots
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Aizoaceae
Genus: Carpobrotus
Species: C. edulis
Botanical name: Carpobrotus edulis
Common name: Ice plant, Pigface, Hottentot fig.

Carpobrotus edulis is a perennial mat-forming succulent native to South Africa which is invasive primarily in coastal habitats in many parts of the world. It was often introduced as an ornamental plant or used for planting along roadsides, from which it has spread to become invasive. Its main impacts are smothering, reduced regeneration of native flora and changes to soil pH and nutrient regimes. It is a "robust, flat-growing, trailing perennial, rooting at nodes and forming dense mats. 
The succulent horizontal stems curve upwards at the growing point. The leaves are succulent, crowded along the stem, 60–130 x 10–12mm, sharply 3-angled and triangular in cross-section with tiny serrations along the outermost angle, yellowish to grass green, and reddish when older.
I
t has many-petaled solitary yellow flowers (up to 10 cm diameter) that turn pinkish-orange with age which are produced mainly during late winter–spring.
The fleshy fruit containing seed are produced year-round. The fruit is fleshy, indehiscent and edible, 35mm in diameter, shaped like a spinning top, on a winged stalk, becoming yellow and fragrant when ripe. The outer wall of the fruit becomes yellowish, wrinkled and leathery with age. The seeds are embedded in the sticky, sweet, jelly-like mucilage. The flowers of C. edulis are pollinated by solitary bees, honey bees and many beetle species.













The  triangular leaves


The older reddish leaves.