Skip to main content

Carpobrotus edulis (L.) N.E.Br.
Hottentot Fig

E.Phillips, Gen.S.Afr.Fl.Pl. 249 (1926)
Conservation Code
Not threatened
Naturalised Status
Alien to Western Australia
Name Status

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.

Grazyna Paczkowska, Descriptive Catalogue, 24 October 1995


IBRA Regions
Avon Wheatbelt, Esperance Plains, Swan Coastal Plain, Warren.
IBRA Subregions
Fitzgerald, Katanning, 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.

Management Notes (for the Swan NRM Region)

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.

Management Calendar

Calendar Type Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Comments
Active Growth         Y Y Y Y Y Y      
Germination       U U U U U U        
Flowering                 Y Y Y    
Fruiting Y O                 Y Y  
Manual Removal Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y  
Herbicide Treatment           Y Y Y Y Y      

Legend: Y = Yes, regularly, O = Occasionally, U = Uncertain, referred by others but not confirmed.



  • Anon. (2010) Carpobrotus edulis (L.) L.Bolus, Aizoaceae. Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER) URL: - Accessed February 2010.
  • Au, L. (2000) Carpobrotus edulis in coastal California plant communities. Restoration and Reclamation Review, 6 Student On-line Journal URL: - Accessed February 2008.
  • Brown, K. & Brooks, K. (2002) Bushland Weeds: A Practical Guide to their Management. Environmental Weeds Action Network, Greenwood.
  • Brusati, E. & Warner, P. (2005) California Invasive Plant Assessment Form: Carpbrotus edulis L. (Bolus). California Invasive Plant Council URL: - Accessed February 2010.
  • California Invasive Plant Council (2006) Invasive Plants of California's Wildland: Carpobrotus edulis. URL: - Accessed April 2010.
  • Conser, C. & Edward, F. (2009) Assessing the residual effects of Carpobrotus edulis invasion, implications for restoration. Biological Invasions, 11 (2): 349-358.
  • D’Antonio, C.M. (1990) Seed production and dispersal in the non-native, invasive succulent Carpobrotus edulis (Aizoaceae) in coastal strand communities of central California. Journal of Applied Ecology, 27: 693-702.
  • D’Antonio, C.M. (1993) Mechanisms controlling invasion of coastal plant communities by the alien succulent Carpobrotus edulis. Ecology, 74 (1): 83-95.
  • D'Antonio, C.M. & Mahall, B.E. (1991) Root profiles and competition between the invasive exotic perennial Carpobrotus edulis and two native shrub species in California USA coastal shrubland. American Journal of Botany, 78 (7): 885-894.
  • D'Antonio, C.M., Odion, D.C. & Tyler, C.M. (1993) Invasion of maritime chaparall by the introduced succulent Carpobrotus edulis: The role of fire and herbivory. Oecologia, 95 (1): 14-21.
  • Guerreiro, A.R. (1977) Evaluation trials for herbicides to control hottentot-fig (Carpobrotus edulis (L.) N.E.Br.). In Proceedings II Simposio Nacional de Herbologia, Oeiras, 1976-77. Volume III, 125-134. 18 ref.
  • Hussey, B.M.J., Keighery, G.J., Dodd, J., Lloyd, S.G. & Cousens, R.D. (2007) Western Weeds. A guide to the weeds of Western Australia. 2nd Edition. The Plant Protection Society of Western Australia, Victoria Park.
  • Malan, C. & Notten, A. (2006) Carpobrotus edulis (L.) L.Bolus. South African National Biodiversity Institute URL: - Accessed February 2010.
  • Maltez-Mouro, M., Maestre, F.T. & Freitas, H. (2009) Weak effects of the exotic invasive Carpobrotus edulis on the structure and composition of Portuguese sand-dune communities. Biological Invasions, 0: 1387-3547.
  • National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) & IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG) (2006) Global Invasive Species Database: Carpobrotus edulis (succulent). Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG) of the IUCN Species Survival Commission URL: - Accessed February 2010.
  • Plants for a Future (Undated) Carpobrotus edulis - L. Bolus. Hottentot Fig. Plants for a Future URL: - Accessed February 2010.
  • USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program (2009) Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN). National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland. URL: - Accessed October 2009.
  • Van Grunsven, R.H.A., Bos, F., Ripley, B.S., Suehs, C.M. & Veenendaal, E.M. (2009) Release from soil pathogens plays an important role in the success of invasive Carpobrotus in the Mediterranean. South African Journal of Botany, 75: 172-175.
  • Vila, M. & D'Antonio, C.M. (1998) Fruit choice and seed dipsersal of invasive versus non-invasive Carpobrotus (Aizoaceae) in coastal California. Ecology, 79 (3): 1053-1060.
  • Vila, M., Weber, E. & D'Antonio, C.M. (1998) Flowering and mating systems in hybridizing Carpobrotus (Aizoaceae) in coastal California. Canadian Journal of Botany, 76 (7): 1165-1169.
  • Wann, J.M. & Bell, D.T. (1997) Dietary preferences of the black-gloved wallaby (Macropus irma) and the western grey kangaroo (M. fuliginosus) in Whiteman Park, Perth, Western Australia. Journal of the Royal Society of Western Australia, 80: 55-62.