Carpobrotus edulis is also commonly known as Ice Plant, Hottentot-fig, Highway Ice Plant, or Pigface. It is native to South Africa. There it is called the Suurvy or Sour Fig. It is a succulent ground cover. It was previously classified as Mesembryanthemum and named Mesembryanthemum edule.
It is part of the Aizoaceae family of plants. It is easy to confuse Carpobrotus edulis with other plants in the same genus. However, Carpobrotus edulis is rather large in size comparatively. Carpobrotus edulis flowers are from 2.5 to 6in or 6.5cm to 15cm in diameter. Flowers are usually magenta or creamy yellow. The succulent leaves are slightly curved.
Carpobrotus edulis is pollinated by bees. Tortoises eat the leaves and baboons and antelope eat the flowers. It provides shelter for snails and lizards and snakes. Carpobrotus edulis grows-up 90cm or 3ft per year. It flowers mostly from August to October. The flowers open with light and close at night.
Carpobrotus edulis has spread throughout many regions especially coastal regions in California, Australia, and the Mediterranean. Black rats have increased its spread. They eat the fruit and spread the seed. It is easily propagated by seed. In California, it is widely seen by the coast as well on the banks of freeways. Ice Plants flower all year round in similar climates as California.
How to grow Carpobrotus edulis:
Grow Carpobrotus edulis in the sun. Plant it in well-drained soil. It is evergreen. It is also drought-tolerant and fire-resistant. The leaves store water. It is part of a group of plants that can be used in areas prone to fires. The list includes Lavender, Sage, Agave, Yucca, Aeonium, and Lamb’s Ear are other plants that are slow to ignite.