Aizoaceae2017-08-17T06:10:39+00:00

   Aizoaceae: Fig Marigold (Iceplant) Family

Sea Fig – Carpobrotus chilensis

Blooms:

All year

Stem length:

2–3 m

Flower Size:

Large

Origin:

South Africa

Invasive?

Yes – moderate

Habitat:

Coastal bluffs & sand dunes

Notes:

This is less invasive than Hottentot Fig (Carpobrotus edulis) and has smaller, rose-magenta flowers with petals 1–2.5 cm.    The leaves are noticeably triangular in cross-section, not serrated towards tip and generally smaller than those of Hottentot Fig.

Hottenot Fig – Carpobrotus edulis

Blooms:

All year

Stem length:

2–3 m

Flower Size:

Large

Origin:

South Africa

Invasive?

Yes – high

Habitat:

Coastal bluffs & sand dunes

Notes:

One of the highly invasive, common iceplants found on the dunes. Yellow flowers, often turning pink with age.  Petals 3–4 cm. Leaves are noticeably triangular in cross-section, tiny serrations near tip. Once commonly but inadvisably planted as a dune stabilizer – extremely difficult to eradicate.

Conicosia – Conicosia pugioniformis

Blooms:

May–Oct

Plant Height:

< 30  cm

Flower Size:

Large

Origin:

South Africa

Invasive?

Yes – limited

Habitat:

Coastal bluffs & dunes

Notes:

Much less common than Hottentot Fig or Sea Fig (Carpobrotus edulis & chilensis) though still invasive. It has shiny, bright yellow flowers with linear petals ciliate in the lower half. Leaves are linear, roundish in cross-section, up to 20 cm long.

Common Iceplant – Mesembryanthemum crystallinum

Blooms:

Mar–Oct

Plant Height:

Trailing

Flower Size:

Medium

Origin:

South Africa

Invasive?

Yes – moderate

Habitat:

Saline places near coast

Notes:

This is distinguishable by its white flowers and crystalline salt-encrusted leaves. Sometimes erroneously thought to be a native species, but like most other iceplants it is in fact a South African native.

New Zealand Spinach – Tetragonia tetragonioides

Blooms:

Apr–Sept

Plant Height:

Spreading, 3+ dm

Flower Size:

Very small

Origin:

Australasia

Invasive?

Yes – limited

Habitat:

Beaches & salt marshes

Notes:

Very common in coastal areas. It has many spreading stems and fleshy, triangular-ovate leaves. Its inconspicuous yellow-green flowers appear alone in the leaf axils. The leaves are edible and covered with many tiny crystalline bumps. 

Baby Sun-rose – Aptenia cordifolia

Blooms:

Apr–May

Stem length:

3–6 dm

Flower Size:

Small

Origin:

South Africa

Habitat:

Disturbed places, margins of coastal wetlands

Notes:

Occasional escape from cultivation.  Very small red flowers and flattish leaves.

Magic Carpet – Drosanthemum floribundum

Blooms:

Apr–June

Stem length:

1–2 dm

Flower Size:

Small

Origin:

South Africa

Habitat:

Coastal Scrub

Notes:

This is marked by a multitude of small, pinkish-purple flowers and very small, fleshy leaves. A related bright red species (Royal Dewflower (Drosanthemum speciosum)) is found along 17 Mile Drive. Very common in Pacific Grove where it has become something of a symbol of the town’s landscape.