Common Name: Coastal pigface.
Etymology: Carpobrotus: Greek words ‘karpos’ meaning fruit and ‘brota’ meaning edible thing. glaucescens: Latin for light sea green passing into grayish blue.
Origin: Coastal Victoria, NSW and Queensland to Rockhampton.
Description: Prostrate, creeping succulant, perennial groundcover. It has long trailing stems (to 2m) and roots at nodes when in contact with soil.
Foliage: Opposite, smooth, thick fleshy leaves 3.5-10cm x 1-1.5cm and angular-triangular.
Flowers: Large, striking, purplish and daisy-like flowers on very short stalk. Numerous undeveloped stamens resemble petals. Generally flowers from October to January but can also flower spasmodically throughout the year.
Fruit: Once the flower is pollinated and spent a fruiting body swells up and turns a deep red eventually falling off when ripe. This red fleshy berry is edible (refer uses) and easy to spot among the green leaves.
Growth Requirements: Well drained, sunny to part shade position (but prefers full sun).
Uses: Front line coastal, dry, sandy soils (will survive being buried in sand, salt spray, sand blasting and high winds), dune stabilization, pioneer plant allowing spinifex grass to take hold. More traditional and earlier uses include the red berry as a food source (every part of this plant is edible), roasted leaves being used as substitute for salt, anti-scurvy treatment and to relieve pain from insect bite (similar to Aloe vera).
Propagation: Readily from seed or cutting.
- Own sources.