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Carpobrotus edulis

Carpobrotus edulis (L.) L. Bolus

Mesembryanthemum edule L.

Ice Plant, Hottentot Fig, Highway Ice Plant, Pigface, Sour Fig

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae (from Stearn’s Botanical Latin)
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassCaryophyllidaeCacti, many other succulents, carnivorous plants, and leadworts
OrderCaryophyllalesIncludes cacti, carnations, amaranths, ice plants, and many carnivorous plants
FamilyAizoaceaeFig-marigold or ice plant family (previously Mesembryanthemaceae)
GenusCarpobrotusFrom Greek carpos, “fruit,” and brotus, “edible”
Speciesedulis“Edible”—the fruit is eaten in South Africa

About plant names...

I couldn’t find an explanation for the common name, “ice plants.” It certainly isn’t related to their preferred climate, which is hot and dry. Ice plants are succulents—plants that cope with arid regions by storing water in thick leaves. Ice plants are native to South Africa. They were introduced into North America, where they thrived and are classified as invasive species in many habitats.

Identification: Plants form large, low-growing mats less than 5" (13 cm) high. Leaves are about 24-51" (60-130 cm) long, and triangular in cross-section, with each edge about ⅜-⁷/₁₆" (1-1.2 cm) long. Flowers are yellow or light pink and 2½-6" (6.3-15 cm) in diameter. Don’t confuse these with Carpobrotus chilensis:

 

Carpobrotus edulis (Ice Plant, Hottentot Fig, Highway Ice Plant, Pigface, Sour Fig)

10/9/2016 · South Africa · By Benjamin Winslow ID is uncertain

Carpobrotus edulis (Ice Plant, Hottentot Fig, Highway Ice Plant, Pigface, Sour Fig)

9/20/2014 · South Africa · By Benjamin Winslow

 
Carpobrotus chilensis
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Carpobrotus edulis
Common Name

Sea Fig

Ice Plant
Plant A few inches high, with stems that creep along the ground, spreading quickly. 3-4" (7.6-10 cm) high, with stems that creep along the ground, spreading quickly.
Flowers Dark pink or purple. Larger, 1½-2½" (3.8-6.3 cm) in diameter. Smaller, 2½-6" (6.3-15 cm) in diameter, yellow or light pink.
Leaves Triangular cross section, 1½" (3.8 cm) long Up to 5" (13 cm) long, dense, triangular in cross-section. Green or yellow-green leaves may be tinged with red.
Fruit Green to yellowish, roughly oval About 1½" (3.8 cm) in diameter, shaped like a spinning top.
Range/ Zones

USDA Zones: 9b-11

USDA Zones: 9-11
Habitats Coastal sage scrub Coastal sage scrub
Type Wild Wild
Occurrence Common, fairly invasive Invasive in California, Australia, and the Mediterranean

 

Carpobrotus edulis (Ice Plant, Hottentot Fig, Highway Ice Plant, Pigface, Sour Fig)

By Barry Rice at sarracenia.com.

Edibility: Fully ripe fruit can be made into pickles, chutney, etc. Leaves are edible, used in salads or as a substitute for pickled cucumber, though some don’t like the sticky nature of the interior (like okra).

Online References:

Carpobrotus edulis on the South African National Biodiversity Institute's web site, plantzafrica.com

Carpobrotus edulis on Wikipedia

Carpobrotus edulis on Plants for a Future, a resource and information centre for edible and otherwise useful plants

Carpobrotus edulis at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences

Carpobrotus edulis at the California Invasive Plant Council

Carpobrotus edulis on CalPhotos

Carpobrotus edulis on the Global Invasive Species Database

Carpobrotus edulis from the Jepson Manual

Carpobrotus edulis description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 16 Aug 2013.

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Carpobrotus edulis (Ice Plant, Hottentot Fig, Highway Ice Plant, Pigface, Sour Fig)

3/20/2011 · By Benjamin Winslow

Range: Zones 9-11:

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