Also known as
Pigface, hottentot fig, Mesembryanthemum edule
Where is it originally from?
What does it look like?
Low-growing, mat forming perennial with fleshy, succulent, 3-angled leaves (7-12 cm long) and 2-angled stems. Many-petalled yellow flowers (up to 10 cm diameter) that turn pinkish-orange with age and fleshy fruit containing seed are produced year-round, but are most common from October to February. Can hybridise with the native Disphyma australe to produce smaller plants (leaves 2-6cm long) with orange-pink or yellow-whitish flowers (4.5-6cm diameter), turning pink with a yellow base with age. No fruit is formed.
Are there any similar species?
Carpobrotus aequilaterus (exotic) is of similar size but has purple flowers (6.5-8cm diameter), and petals paler near base. Produces flowers and fleshy fruit from August to January. Disphyma austral (native) is smaller with leaves up to 4cm long, uniformly white to deep pink flowers (2-4cm diameter) displayed in rows. Flowers year round, fleshy fruits produced from September to May. Stems round. D. papillatum (endemic) is similar to D. austral but has flattened, 2-angled stems and flowers from November to January only, fruiting December to April. D. clavellatum (exotic) has round or weakly angled leaves up to 5cm long. Purple flowers (2-4cm diameter), petals white at base, are produced December to January. Fruit produced December to April. Stems round.
Why is it weedy?
Can spread rapidly, forming impenetrable mats to 50m in diameter and over 50cm deep, competing aggressively with native species. C. edulis produces abundant seeds
How does it spread?
C. edulis spreads by seed and stem fragments. Hybrid plants do not form seeds but spread by stem fragments. The ability to root at each node (stem joint) allows it to spread rapidly.
What damage does it do?
C. edulis hybridises with and replaces the native ice plant (Disphyma australe). It forms mats over sand dunes and open areas, displacing other vegetation and changing the structure of sand dunes by preventing sand movement and hindering the natural processes of disturbance and change in dune environments. Reduces soil pH and influences soil nutrients, and can produce a build-up of organic matter in normally sandy soils, leading to other non-native species being able to establish.
Which habitats is it likely to invade?
Coastal cliffs and sand dunes, and open (but frost-free) areas such as roadsides.
What can I do to get rid of it?
Hand-pull individual plants and remove any buried stems (all year round): Large mats can be removed by rolling them up like a carpet. Remove vegetation from the site or elevate from contact with the ground by mulching
What can I do to stop it coming back?
Monitoring and follow-up control will be required to prevent seedling establishment. Revegetate dune area with native dune plants.