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Carpobrotus acinaciformis

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Aizoaceae (Mesembryanthemum)
Also in this family:
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
1 metre long
Cliffs, gardens, parks, rocky places, sea cliffs, seaside.

Pink, many petals
Showy, bright pinkish-purple flowers. Like a large pink daisy. Pollinated by bees.
The fruit is a fleshy berry. The seeds ripen in August and September.
An evergreen mat-forming perennial plant with short, stout, greyish-green leaves, up to 9cm long. The succulent leaves are triangular in cross-section.
The fruits are fragrant when ripe.
Other Names:
Angry Birds, Creeping Fig, Elands Sourfig, Giant Pigface, Highway Ice Plant, Horse Fig, Hottentot Fig, Hottentot Fig-marigold, Ice Plant, Pig Face, Pigface, Sour Fig.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Carpobrotus acinaciformis, also known as "Angry birds" or "Iceplant", is a species of succulent plant that is native to South Africa. It is a prostrate or semi-prostrate perennial plant with fleshy, triangular leaves and large, brightly colored flowers, usually pink or magenta. The flowers are usually followed by large, round, edible fruit, which are yellow or orange in color. This plant is often used as an ornamental groundcover, it is drought-tolerant and can grow well in sandy soils, it can also be used for erosion control. In some regions, it is considered an invasive species due to its ability to spread quickly and outcompete native plants. It's also considered a threat to coastal dune ecosystems and wildlife. The plant's sap and leaves contain high levels of oxalic acid that can cause skin irritation and gastric upset if ingested.


"Sally, My Handsome: The Beauty of Carpobrotus acinaciformis"

Have you ever stumbled upon a plant that instantly captured your heart and made you fall in love with it? Well, let me introduce you to Sally, my handsome - Carpobrotus acinaciformis. This succulent plant, commonly known as the pigface, is native to South Africa and is famous for its beauty and versatility in gardening and landscaping.

Carpobrotus acinaciformis is a low-growing, spreading succulent with fleshy, triangular leaves that form a rosette. The leaves are usually green and sometimes tinged with red or purple. The plant produces large, bright yellow or pink flowers with five petals and a center of yellow stamens, which bloom in the summer and attract a variety of pollinators, including bees and butterflies.

One of the reasons why I love Sally so much is because of how easy it is to grow. This succulent is very hardy and can tolerate a wide range of growing conditions, from full sun to partial shade. It can also grow in various soil types, as long as it's well-draining, and is drought-tolerant, making it an ideal choice for gardeners who live in arid or semi-arid climates.

Another aspect of Carpobrotus acinaciformis that makes it an attractive plant is its versatility in the garden. It can be used as a groundcover, in rock gardens, or as an accent plant in a mixed border. It also makes an excellent container plant and can be used to create a stunning display on a patio or deck.

In addition to its ornamental value, Carpobrotus acinaciformis has a number of medicinal uses. The plant has been used for centuries by indigenous people to treat a variety of ailments, including wounds, burns, and skin irritations. The gel found in the leaves has cooling and soothing properties and is still used today as a natural remedy for skin conditions.

Sally, my handsome, Carpobrotus acinaciformis, is a plant that should be in every gardener's collection. Its beauty, versatility, and ease of care make it a great addition to any garden, whether you're a seasoned gardener or just starting out. So, go ahead and add a little bit of South African charm to your garden with Sally, my handsome. You won't regret it!

Note: While Carpobrotus acinaciformis has many benefits, it is considered an invasive species in some areas and can negatively impact local ecosystems. Before planting this species, make sure it is appropriate for your region and do not release it into the wild.

One interesting fact about Carpobrotus acinaciformis is that it's known for its ability to stabilize sand dunes and prevent erosion. In its native South Africa, it is commonly found growing on the sand dunes along the coast, where it helps to hold the sand in place and prevent it from being blown away by the wind. This makes it a useful plant for coastal restoration projects and for landscaping in areas that are prone to sand dune erosion.

Carpobrotus acinaciformis is also a popular plant for attracting wildlife to the garden. In addition to the pollinators that it attracts, it is also a food source for birds and other animals. The fruit of the plant is edible and has a sweet, juicy flesh that is enjoyed by birds and other wildlife.

Another interesting use of Carpobrotus acinaciformis is in xeriscaping, or landscaping with drought-tolerant plants. This succulent is ideal for xeriscaping because it requires very little water and can thrive in arid conditions. In xeriscaped gardens, it can be used to add color and texture, and it can also be used as a focal point in a rock garden or as a groundcover.

In terms of maintenance, Carpobrotus acinaciformis is a low-maintenance plant that requires very little attention. It is best to water it only when the soil is completely dry, and it can be pruned back if it becomes too sprawling or overgrown.

It's worth mentioning that Carpobrotus acinaciformis is also a popular plant for use in bonsai. Its fleshy leaves and trailing stems make it an ideal plant for creating miniature landscapes in bonsai containers. Bonsai enthusiasts often prune and train the plant to create a compact, aesthetically pleasing form.

Sally, my handsome, Carpobrotus acinaciformis, is a plant that is not only beautiful but also functional and versatile. Its ease of care, attractive flowers and leaves, and ability to stabilize sand dunes and prevent erosion make it a great choice for gardeners, landscapers, and anyone looking to add a touch of beauty to their garden.

Carpobrotus acinaciformis is also a popular plant for landscaping in public spaces, such as parks and along roadways. Its ability to grow in a variety of soil types and withstand harsh growing conditions make it ideal for planting in public spaces where other plants may not be able to thrive.

In addition, Carpobrotus acinaciformis is a great plant for those looking to incorporate a coastal or beachy feel into their garden. Its native habitat along the South African coast means it is well adapted to coastal environments and can add a touch of the beach to your garden, even if you don't live near the coast.

Another great aspect of Carpobrotus acinaciformis is its ability to thrive in containers. This makes it a great option for those who don't have a lot of outdoor space, or for those who want to add a touch of greenery to a patio, balcony, or windowsill. The plant can be easily pruned to keep it compact and to maintain its shape.

In terms of pests and diseases, Carpobrotus acinaciformis is generally resistant to most problems. However, it can be susceptible to mealybugs, spider mites, and root rot if it is overwatered or planted in poorly-draining soil. To prevent these problems, it's important to plant the succulent in well-draining soil and to only water it when the soil is completely dry.

Finally, it's worth mentioning that Carpobrotus acinaciformis is also a great plant for cut flower arrangements. Its bright yellow or pink flowers add a touch of color and can be used to create beautiful bouquets. Simply cut a few stems and place them in a vase of water, and you'll have a beautiful arrangement that will last for several days.

In conclusion, Sally, my handsome, Carpobrotus acinaciformis, is a versatile and attractive plant that can be used in a variety of ways in the garden. Whether you're looking to add a touch of the beach to your garden, create a beautiful cut flower arrangement, or simply want a low-maintenance plant that is easy to grow, Sally, my handsome, is definitely worth considering.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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