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Carpobrotus glaucescens - (Haw.)Schwantes.

Common Name Pigface
Family Aizoaceae
USDA hardiness 8-11
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Grows near the sea[265].
Range Australia - Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Half Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Carpobrotus glaucescens Pigface

Carpobrotus glaucescens Pigface


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Carpobrotus glaucescens is an evergreen Perennial growing to 0.3 m (1ft) by 2 m (6ft 7in).
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 9. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Mesembryanthemum glaucescens Haw.


 Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Fruit - raw[193]. Considered a delicacy by the native people, the fruit has a soft, wet pulp with the flavour of salty strawberries or fresh, juicy figs[193]. The red to purple fruit is 20 - 30mm long[365]. Leaves - a salty flavour[193].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

The leaves are antiscorbutic[343]. The juice from the succulent leaves has been applied externally to relieve pain from insect bites[343].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Agroforestry Uses: Species in this genus have a vigorous, prostrate growth habit, producing a dense carpet of foliage and making a very effective ground cover. They can be planted in maritime areas, especially in Mediterranean climates, in order to prevent soil erosion in sandy soils, dunes and on banks[200, 208, 343]. The plant acts to stabilize sand dunes, even surviving burial by the sand[343]. It thus paves the way for other species to become established on the dunes[343]. The plant has very fleshy leaves and is moderately fire-resistant. It can be used in barrier plantings to prevent the spread of forest fires[200].

Special Uses

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Carpobrotus glaucescens is a plant of low elevations, mainly in the subtropics but extending into the tropics[193]. It is not very cold-hardy, but can tolerate short periods with temperatures falling to around -2°c[200]. Succeeds in most relatively well-drained positions in either full sun or partial shade; though an open sunny position is best[343]. Found naturally in poor sandy soils and cliff faces[343]. Plants are tolerant of saline soils and maritime winds[343]. Established plants are drought tolerant[343].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Seed - surface sow in containers. Lower night-time temperatures are beneficial. The seed usually germinates in 7 - 10 days at 23°c[138]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on until large enough to plant out. Propagation is easiest by layering (rooting horizontal stem cuttings), as this is how the plant grows naturally[343]. These layers should be around 30 cm in length and planted leaving at least 5 cm of the plant above the sand or soil[343]. The plant can also be grown from cut pieces or division of large plants[343].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Native Plant Search

Search over 900 plants ideal for food forests and permaculture gardens. Filter to search native plants to your area. The plants selected are the plants in our book 'Plants For Your Food Forest: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests and Permaculture Gardens, as well as plants chosen for our forthcoming related books for Tropical/Hot Wet Climates and Mediterranean/Hot Dry Climates. Native Plant Search

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Carpobrotus acinaciformisHottentot FigPerennial0.1 8-11  LNDM203
Carpobrotus aequilaterusSea FigPerennial0.2 7-10  LMNDM203
Carpobrotus deliciosusSweet Hottentot FigPerennial0.2 7-10  LMHSNM202
Carpobrotus edulisHottentot Fig,Perennial0.1 7-10  LNDM222
Carpobrotus modestusInland PigfacePerennial0.2 8-11  LMHSNDM00 
Carpobrotus rossiiKarkallaPerennial0.2 8-11  LMHSNDM00 
Carpobrotus virescensCoastal PigfacePerennial0.5 8-11  LMHSNDM00 

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References


Links / References

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Readers comment

   Tue Jun 10 00:31:17 2003

Re. edible uses: a dune-colonising carpobrotus ssp. (almost down to upper tide limit), N. Sydney, in flo. & frt at turn of the year, is likely to have been c. glauc.; cf. Geoff Sainty et al., "Burnum Burnum's Wildthings Around Sydney" (Potts Point, 1989: Sainty & Associates), ISBN 0 7316 6587 2, entry 200, p. 44 (a summary/pop. field guide, so there must be fuller refs they used). Described there as "reportedly" eaten by Aborigines - the leaf sap and fruit pulp. I tried the latter from ripe frt & found it refreshingly tart (too astringent/'tannic' unripe).

Julie   Wed Sep 6 2006

The fruit is delicious if picked at the right time, to me it tastes like a salty monsterio delicio.

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