Prostrate, spreading, succulent perennial, herb, 0.06-0.3 m high, to 2 m long. Fl. yellow-pink, Jul to Nov. White or grey sand, sandy clay. Coastal dunes & winter-wet depressions.
Beard’s Provinces: South-West Province.
IBRA Regions: Avon Wheatbelt, Esperance Plains, Swan Coastal Plain, Warren.
IBRA Subregions: Avon Wheatbelt P2, Fitzgerald, Perth, Warren.
IMCRA Regions: Central West Coast, Leeuwin-Naturaliste, WA South Coast.
Local Government Areas (LGAs): Albany, Armadale, Cockburn, Gingin, Kwinana, Manjimup, Melville, Murray, Narrogin, Nedlands, Northam, Rockingham, South Perth, Swan, Wanneroo.
Alternative Names. Hottentot Fig, Fig-marigold, Sour Fig, Cape Fig.
General Biology. Growth form. Herb. Life form. Perennial. Reproduction. Primarily seed, also stem fragments. Dispersal. Rabbits, rats, birds, other mammals, inappropriate or inadvertant restoration planting, garden refuse. Seedbank persistence. 2+ years.
Notes. Naturalised in many parts of the world. Is invasive primarily in coastal habitats. Can have strong negative effects on the germination, survival, growth, and reproduction of other species. Capable of directly smothering native flora, suppressing regeneration, outcompeting and/or hybridising with native Carpobrotus species. Forms impenetrable mats that break down over time, increasing soil organic matter and altering nutrient dynamics, allowing new non-native species to invade. Also capable of reducing soil pH. Dense fibrous root systems interfere with water uptake by other plants. Can prevent sand movement, which hinders the natural processes in dune environments. Flowers are monoecious (both male and female parts), only open in the afternoon and are pollinated by bees and beetles. Established plants are highly drought, wind and salt spray resistant. Moderately fire-retardant and relies upon disturbance such as fire to open up vegetative cover. Once established it is competitively superior to native species particularly grasses and herbs. It has high vegetative reproduction rates. Produces fleshy indehiscent fruit in spring/summer which remains on the plant until autumn when it is eaten and dipersed by a variety of mammals. It can establish from fresh or significantly dehydrated small stem fragments. Hybridises with related native and naturalised species. Hybrids are very successful invaders of Californian plant communities - they produce more fruit per clone, have larger fruits and enhanced survival of seed after gut passage through frugivores.
Additional information. Origin. South Africa. History of use/introduction. Ornamental, ersoion control, medicines, food. Similar exotic species. Carpobrotus aequilaterus. Similar native species. C. virescens, C. rossii.
Suggested method of management and control. Manual methods appear to be the most effective means of control. Roll up large mats removing all roots and stem fragments and remove from site. Follow up with removal of any germinating plants. Otherwise spray with glyphosate at 2% + surfactant. Read the manufacturers' labels and material safety data sheets before using herbicides. For further information consult the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority to determine the status of permits for your situation or state.
Legend: Y = Yes, regularly, O = Occasionally, U = Uncertain, referred by others but not confirmed.
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Western Australian Herbarium (1998–). FloraBase—the Western Australian Flora. Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions. https://florabase.dpaw.wa.gov.au/