Mesembryanthemum glaucescens Haw.
Common Name: Pigface
Carpobrotus glaucescens is a low-growing, succulent, evergreen, perennial plant that can produce stems 2 metres long which root at their nodes and spread to cover quite large areas of the ground.
The fruit is avidly gathered by the Australian Aborigines, who use it as a main source of food when it is in season[
Australia - Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria.
Grows near the sea[
]. A creeping plant on beaches, dunes and headlands[
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Carpobrotus glaucescens is a plant of low elevations, mainly in the subtropics but extending into the tropics[
]. It is not very cold-hardy, but can tolerate short periods with temperatures falling to around -2°c[
Succeeds in most relatively well-drained positions in either full sun or partial shade; though an open sunny position is best[
]. Found naturally in poor sandy soils and cliff faces[
]. Plants are tolerant of saline soils and maritime winds[
]. Established plants are drought tolerant[
Fruit - raw[
]. Considered a delicacy by the native people, the fruit has a soft, wet pulp with the flavour of salty strawberries or fresh, juicy figs[
]. The red to purple fruit is 20 - 30mm long[
Leaves - a salty flavour[
The leaves are antiscorbutic[
The juice from the succulent leaves has been applied externally to relieve pain from insect bites[
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[
]. The plant acts to stabilize sand dunes, even surviving burial by the sand[
]. It thus paves the way for other species to become established on the dunes[
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[
Seed - surface sow in containers. Lower night-time temperatures are beneficial. The seed usually germinates in 7 - 10 days at 23°c[
]. 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[
]. These layers should be around 30 cm in length and planted leaving at least 5 cm of the plant above the sand or soil[
The plant can also be grown from cut pieces or division of large plants[
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