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Useful Tropical Plants

Carpobrotus acinaciformis

(L.) L.Bolus

Aizoaceae

+ Synonyms

Carpobrotus concavus L.Bolus

Carpobrotus laevigatus (Haw.) Schwantes

Carpobrotus rubrocinctus (Haw.) Schwantes

Carpobrotus subalatus (Mill.) Schwantes

Carpobrotus vanzijliae L.Bolus

Mesembryanthemum acinaciforme L.

Mesembryanthemum laevigatum Haw.

Mesembryanthemum rubrocinctum Haw.

Mesembryanthemum subulatum Mill.

Common Name: Hottentot Fig

Carpobrotus acinaciformis
Flowering plant overlooking the sea in Crete
Photograph by: Digitalsignal
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0
Carpobrotus acinaciformis Carpobrotus acinaciformis Carpobrotus acinaciformis

General Information

Hottentot fig is a low-growing, evergreen, succulent perennial plant, forming a dense mat that completely covers the soil.
The plant is sometimes harvested from the wild for its edible fruit and it is also cultivated both as an ornamental and for its ability to stabilize sandy soils.

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.

Range

S. Africa - Cape Province.

Habitat

Sandy and rocky places near the sea[
260
Title
Conservatory and Indoor Plants Volumes 1 & 2
Publication
 
Author
Phillips. R. & Rix. M.
Publisher
Pan Books, London.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-330-37376-5
Description
Excellent photos of over 1,100 species and cultivars with habits and cultivation details plus a few plant uses. Many species are too tender for outdoors in Britain though there are many that can be grown outside.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitEvergreen Perennial
Height0.10 m
PollinatorsBees
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Ornamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

Plants succeed in the drier parts of the tropics and subtropics, and also in the warmer parts of the temperate zone. They are not very cold tolerant resistant and can be killed by temperatures below about -2°c.
Requires a well-drained sandy soil in a sunny position[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Plants can be grown on dry walls or in the flower border[
166
Title
The Milder Garden.
Publication
 
Author
Taylor. J.
Publisher
Dent
Year
1990
ISBN
 
Description
A good book on plants that you didn't know could be grown outdoors in Britain.
]. Established plants are very drought resistant[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Very resistant to wind and salt spray[
166
Title
The Milder Garden.
Publication
 
Author
Taylor. J.
Publisher
Dent
Year
1990
ISBN
 
Description
A good book on plants that you didn't know could be grown outdoors in Britain.
]. Moderately fire-retardant[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
A vigorous prostrate plant, rooting as it spreads. The flowers only open in the afternoon[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].

Edible Uses

Fruit - raw[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
,
61
Title
A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man.
Publication
 
Author
Usher. G.
Publisher
Constable
Year
1974
ISBN
0094579202
Description
Forget the sexist title, this is one of the best books on the subject. Lists a very extensive range of useful plants from around the world with very brief details of the uses. Not for the casual reader.
,
89
Title
Flowers of the Mediterranean.
Publication
 
Author
Polunin. O. and Huxley. A.
Publisher
Hogarth Press
Year
1987
ISBN
0-7012-0784-1
Description
A very readable pocket flora that is well illustrated. Gives some information on plant uses.
]. There is very little flesh in the fruit and it must be fully ripe otherwise it is very astringent[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. About the size of a gooseberry, it is of inferior quality and insipid[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
,
105
Title
Tanaka's Cyclopedia of Edible Plants of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Tanaka. T. & Nakao S.
Publisher
Keigaku Publishing; Tokyo
Year
1976
ISBN
-
Description
The most comprehensive list of edible plants I've come across. Only the briefest entry for each species, though, and some of the entries are more than a little dubious. Not for the casual reader.
,
177
Title
Plants for Human Consumption.
Publication
 
Author
Kunkel. G.
Publisher
Koeltz Scientific Books
Year
1984
ISBN
3874292169
Description
An excellent book for the dedicated. A comprehensive listing of Latin names with a brief list of edible parts.
].

Leaves - raw or cooked[
2
Title
Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Hedrick. U. P.
Publisher
Dover Publications
Year
1972
ISBN
0-486-20459-6
Description
Lots of entries, quite a lot of information in most entries and references.
,
173
Title
Native Edible Plants of New Zealand.
Publication
 
Author
Crowe. A.
Publisher
Hodder and Stoughton
Year
1990
ISBN
0-340-508302
Description
A very well written and illustrated book based on the authors own experiments with living on a native diet.
]. Very mucilaginous, we find it very hard to enjoy them[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

Medicinal

None known

Agroforestry Uses:

Planted in maritime areas to prevent soil erosion in sandy soils and on steep banks[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Plants form a dense carpet and make an effective ground cover[
208
Title
Plants for Ground Cover
Publication
 
Author
Thomas. G. S.
Publisher
J. M. Dent & Sons
Year
1990
ISBN
0-460-12609-1
Description
An excellent detailled book on the subject, very comprehensive.
].
The plant is moderately fire-resistant and can be used in barrier plantings to prevent the spread of forest fires[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].

Other Uses

None known

Propagation

Seed - surface sow in containers. Lower night-time temperatures are beneficial. The seed usually germinates in 7 - 10 days at 23°c[
138
Title
Growing from Seed. Volume 3.
Publication
 
Author
Bird. R. (Editor)
Publisher
Thompson and Morgan.
Year
1989
ISBN
-
Description
Very readable magazine with lots of information on propagation.
]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on until large enough to plant out.
Cuttings at any time during the growing season. Allow the cutting to dry in the sun for a day or two then pot up in a very sandy mix. Very easy[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

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