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  Carpobrotus acinaciformis CACTUSPEDIA       

 


Carpobrotus acinaciformis
The large pink flowers are very showy and the plant is frequently cultivated. In many areas it has become naturalised on sea cliffs and shores.
 

Description: Carpobrotus acinaciformis is a robust and fast growing creeping, mat-forming succulent that grow year round, with individual shoot segments growing more than 1 m per year.
Stems: Flat-growing, trailing and curved upwards at the growing point. The stems root at nodes and are up to 2 m long (or more).
Leaves: Succulent, crowded along the stem, opposite, thick 60-130 x 10-17 mm, sabre-shaped, sharply 3-angled and triangular in cross-section, curved upward, yellowish to grass-green, often tinged red along edge. Adaxial and lateral surfaces distinctly concave; keel denticulate, sometimes only in upper portion. Foliage can turn a vibrant red to yellow in colour when older.
Flowers: Solitary at the end of a short stalk, hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)10-15 cm in diameter, daisy-like with many stamens (400-600) surrounding a starfish-like stigma. The colour vary from brilliant pink-violet to dark magenta (white flowering cultivars are reported too). Calyx oblong or nearly globose; petals rose- or purplish-pink; top of the ovary flat or slightly concave They open in the morning in bright sunlight, close at night, and are pollinated by Bees.
Blooming season: Flowering occurs almost year round (depending on climate and clone) but mainly in spring and summer. (May to July)
Fruit: Fleshy, constricted at the base, indehiscent, 35 mm in diameter, shaped like a spinning top, on a winged stalk The fruit is edible yellow and fragrant when ripe. The outer wall of the fruit becomes yellowish, wrinkled and leathery with age.
Seeds: The seeds are embedded in the sticky, sweet, jelly-like mucilage. Seed production is high, with hundreds of seeds produced in each fruit., and ripen from August to September.

 

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Family: Mesebrianthemaceae (Aizoaceae)

Scientific name:  Carpobrotus acinaciformis (L.) L.Bolus
 
Origin
The species is native to South Africa but is naturalised in many other regions throughout the world, notably Australia, California and the Mediterranean, all of which share a similar climate.

Habitat: It is particularly resistant to some harsh coastal climatic conditions and to salt where it may forms large monospecific zones. But due to the fact that it easily spreads by seed and from segmentation (any shoot segment can produce roots) it has escaped from cultivation and has become an invasive species. It is now common along highways, beaches and in other landscapes. ( loose sands, dune, dune scrub, coastal scrub, coastal prairie and rocky outcrops). Now parts of the coastline of many countries in mild climate areas are completely covered by this invasive plant  that compete with native species.

Conservation status: Listed in CITES appendix 2.

Common Names include: Ice Plant, Highway Ice Plant, Pigface or Hottentot Fig and in South Africa as the Sour Fig, on account of its edible fruit.

Etymology: acinaciformis = scimitar shaped

 



The flower is s
olitary at the end of a short stalk, hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and is very large and showy, up 10-15 cm in diameter, with many stamens (400-600) surrounding a starfish-like stigma.

Notes: There are several species of this South African genus of succulents many of them so similar that many may be hybrids.

Cultivation: The plants in this genus represent some of the more easily cultivated succulent species. Water moderately from early spring to the end of autumn, and keep the compost quite dry when the plants are dormant watering, only if the plant starts shrivelling (, but they will generally grow even in winter if given water) In areas prone to frost, grow in an intermediate greenhouse or conservatory, in pots of cactus compost, obtainable from good garden centres. Provide maximum light all the year round.

Propagation: Seeds or cuttings. Seeds can be sown in early to mid-spring and germinated in heated humid environment. Alternatively, use stem cuttings taken towards the end of summer.

 

Uses

  • It is an easy-to-grow groundcover, ideal for low-maintenance and water-wise gardens.
  • Its leaves are edible, as are its fruit, as with other some members of the Aizoaceae family. In South Africa the Sour Fig's ripe fruit are gathered and either eaten fresh or made into a very tart jam. The fruits are tasty  and can be eaten fresh.

 

Photo gallery: Alphabetical listing of Cactus and Succulent pictures published in this site.

Photo gallery CARPOBROTUS



 

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This old page has been moved! Click the link next on the right to enter the new Enciclopedia of Succulents. We hope you find this new site informative and useful.

Encyclopedia of Succulents