Weed of the Month – October 2016


(Carpobrotus edulis)


(Photos: C. Schultz, Cape Jervis, Yellow flowers, ‘teeth’ on leaves and possible hybrid flower)

At first glance, you might think this groundcover is our native pigface, Karkalla. There is that triangular cross-section of the succulent leaves,but this one has ‘teeth’, or a rough edge, to the sharper side, whereas Karkalla is smooth. Its large yellow flowers are the biggest giveaway to its identification though. Unlike our local pink-flowered pigface, this is an invasive introduced species …in fact, it is so invasive it is listed in the Invasive Species Database for 24 countries! Unfortunately, the plant hybridizes with the local pigfaces, where they come into close proximity, and this leads to other problems e.g. swamping local species genetically. One particular concern is that Karkalla is a food source. Although the hottentot fig is also edible, what happens with the hybrids?