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California Poppies Headwaters Forest Reserve Kayaker enjoying the California Coastal National Monument Headwaters Forest Reserve King Range National Conservation Area
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Arcata Field Office

Hottentot Fig (Carpobrotus edulis)

Fig-Marigold Family (Aizoaceae)


  Description: Hottentot fig (commonly referred to as "ice plant") is an invasive noxious weed. Hottentot fig is a succulent which stores water in swollen leaves [2.3-3.7 inches (6 - 10 centimeters) long, 0.4-0.8 inches (10-15 millimeters) wide] or stems enabling it to survive in a drought or after being uprooted. Iceplant grows low to the ground and blankets the dunes with its sprawling growth habit. Hottentot fig has large flowers 1.2-1.5 inches (3-4 centimeters) wide and are light pink to pale yellow in color.

Habitat: Many coastal habitats especially on sand. Hottentot fig is a native to South Africa. It is believed that the fig was introduced as early as the 1500's in sand used as ship's ballast. About 50 years ago, Caltrans began using iceplant for roadside landscaping and erosion control until discovering that the plant required high maintenance. Iceplant is still used along roadsides, but on a more limited basis.

Distribution: Distributed globally, including the entire California coast. Of particular concern on public lands administered by the Arcata Field Office is the north spit, also known as the Samoa Peninsula, Humboldt bay, where it is displacing native plants in concert with yellow bush lupine, European beachgrass and sea fig.

Flowering Period: May through July