by Stephen Mifsud
   13 Jun 2024      ()
External Links:

Carpobrotus edulis   (Hottenot Fig)

Carpobrotus edulis  (AIZOOACEAE.) 
Images for this profile are taken from the Maltese Islands after year 2000.

Page Contents + Links

General Information Species Images
External Links Support and sales
Submit information Facebook community
Sponsors & Adverts Copyright notes
Aizooaceae Index Plant Family Index
This profile is brought to you by one of the website's sponsors.
[read more...]
Profile Date Oct-2007 (taxon update: Sep-2022)
Citation for this page Mifsud, S. (2022). Carpobrotus edulis - datasheet created on Oct-2007. Retrieved from on 13-Jun-2024

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Carpobrotus edulis(L.) N.E.Br.
Published in Gen. S. Afr. Fl. Pl. 249 (1926)

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

Mesembryanthemum edule L.
Full list of synonyms : [Euro+Med] [PlantList] [IPNI] [POWO] [Catalogue of Life] []

Plant Family :

Aizooaceae Rudolphi (The Fig-Marigold Family)
17 species from the Aizooaceae family are recorded from the Maltese Islands.

English name(s) :

Hottenot Fig, Kaffir Fig

Maltese name(s) :

Xuxet San Ġwann is-safra, Is-Swaba tal-Madonna is-safra

Status for Malta :

Casual or accidental alien. Species that was introduced in Malta rather recently and normally it is short-lived or resticted to small populations for a short time, without becoming widespread or invasive.

Frequency :

Very Common     Common    Frequent     Scarce     Rare    Very rare     Extinct

Growth form :

Raunkiaer lifeform [info]: CHAMEOPHYTE ( dwarf or small woody shrubs )
Germination [info]: Dicotyledon

Legal Protection :

Not legally protected till the last update of this website (2/Mar/2022)

Red List (1989) :

Not listed in the Red Data Book of the Maltese Islands

Flowering Time :

March – June

Colour of Flowers:

Violet or Yellow


Not particularly toxic

Name Derivation :


Planting in rural areas :

Cannot be planted in the wild (rural areas) since the species may be invasive (see ERA guidelines)

Remarks :

This species is closely related to Carpobrotus acinaciformis which apparently, in local literature there is confusion betwen the two. Conclusive identification relies on dissecting the flower and examine the number of locules and the longitudinal shape of receptacle, however long sepals of about 40-60mm, yellow flowers and straight leaves with equilateral triangular cross section are highly indicative of C. edulis . The variety C. edulis var. rubescens Druce (and perhaps artifial hybrids such as var. chrysophthalmus C.D.Preston & P.D.Sell) has purple flowers hence the colour of flowers is not enough to determine between the two species. Nevertheless, about 95% of the specimens examined, resulted to be C. acinaciformis in Malta, hence the use of C. edulis as the purple-flowering invasive species has to be ammended to C. acinaciformis .

Description, Habitat and Distribution
Habitat in Europe: Cultivated for ornament and naturalized on coastal cliffs and sands, and sometimes inland in disturbed places.
Preferred habitat in Malta: Casual horticultural escape found in disturbed or degraded areas especially close to the touristic coasts.
Botanical Description: Stems up to several metres. Leaves not glaucous, not broadening above the middle, tapering gradually to the acute apex; dorsal angle serrulate. Flowers 4-9 cm in diameter; petals yellow, pinkish-purple (var. rubescens Druce, C. acinaciformis auct. eur., non (L.) L. Bolus, Mesembryanthemum acinaciforme auct. eur., non L.) or purple with a yellow base (var. chrysophthalmus C.D. Preston & P.D. Sell); anthers yellow, the filaments yellow or brownish.
Chromosome number: 2n=18
Distributional range: South Europe
Native region outside Europe: (Australia)

Distributional map in Europe
and the Mediterranean region (2018):
Occurrences in Europe.
(from Flora Europaea pre year 1993):
Introduced in Albania, the Azores, the Balaeric Islands, Britain (excl. Northern Ireland and Channel islands), Corse, France (incl. Monaco and Channel Islands but excluding Corse), Greece, Ireland, Spain (incl. Andorra but excl. the Balaerics), Italy (excl. Sicily and Sardignia), Portugal, Sicily and/or Malta
Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(from Euro+Med Checklist, 2019)
  Country codes  
[nAE AE(G) nAg nAl Az nAz(C F G J L M P S T) Be nBl Bl(I M N) nBr nCa Ca(C F G L P T) nCo Cr aCy nGa(C F) Gr nHb(E N) nHs Hs(S) nIJ nIt nLe nLi LS nLu nMa nMd Md(M P) nSa Si nSi(M S) nSy nTn Tu(A E)]

Links & Further literature (2 papers)

Google Web

Google Images

Google Scholar

Research Gate




Med Checklist

Cat. of Life



World Flora Online

Plants of the World Online

Vienna Virt. Herb.

RBGE Herbarium

KEW Herbarium




Morphology of the invasive Carpobrotus (Aizoaceae) in Europe: Malta as a case study Stephen Mifsud  (2021)
New records, taxonomic updates, and new locations for some alien species occurring in the Maltese Islands Stephen Mifsud  (2019)
Kindly Email if there are papers and publications about local studies or information about this species to be included in the list above.

Species Images (5 images)
   Carpobrotus edulis   -   Image Code: CRBED-0.
   Carpobrotus edulis   -   Image Code: CRBED-1.
   Carpobrotus edulis   -   Image Code: CRBED-2.
   Carpobrotus edulis   -   Image Code: CRBED-3.
   Carpobrotus edulis   -   Image Code: CRBED-4.

Buy Seeds and Docs
Sales of seeds of wild plants for academic studies, research or personal use. Note that not all species seeds can be exported - depending on Maltese regulations and CITES, and availability depends on season. You are hence kindly requested to first fill and submit a quotation form by which you will get confirmation of the purchase, availability and charges. Currently local orders are not taken.   Online Quotation (Seeds)

Buy images found in this large online collection of Maltese flora photographed by the author (Stephen Mifsud). Prices reasonable and rated differently according size and resolution. Buying images for your projects will support this website. When placing an order please take note of the image code specific for every image in the corresponding species webpage (found beneath each individual photo) since this is required when filling the online ordering form. Images are normally sold as a license with the copyright reserved to the author, but sales of copyright of exceptional images can be considered.   Online Purchase (Images)
Kindly consider to support this website by giving a small donation. This will help to cover some expenses needed to maintain the website and its further development without any adverts. Please login into your PayPal account and use the email: as email address to send your donation   Online Donation

Use this form to submit more information on this species or report mistakes in this webpage. If information supplied is taken from a book, journal or website, please provide the corresponding reference or website address. Your email address is only for internal communication. Please report only Maltese locations for plants that indicated as rare or very rare (refer to the nomenclature section above). Please do report mistakes, broken links, technical errors, typing / grammar errors, misidentifications or taxonomical updates; this will help to improve the website's accuracy. Thanks you! Fill any of the three sections (A/B/C) below and kindly submit the form.     * = required fields.
Plant Species:  *
Your name:   * Your Email:   *
Section A:  Additional Information about this plant species
Own observations: Info from published material (books, journals, website):
Reference of published material:
Section B:   Where have you seen this plant on the Maltese Islands?
Locations in Malta or Gozo where you have seen this plant. Only applies for rare plants.

1:       2:       3:   
4:       5:       6:   
Try to be as concise as possible. Examples: Dingli Cliffs (near chapel), Wied Incita (Zebbug side), Triq il-Kbira (Qormi), Barriera ta' Ghajn Abdul (Xlendi), Fields East of Salib tal-gholja (Siggiewi). GPS co-ordinates are also welcomed!
Section C:  Corrections for mistakes and errors in this plant profile
Section of this page where you found an error (select one)
What is the error/mistake and suggest a correction
AntiSpam Verification: Please answer these simple questions:   80 + 7 =     This website is about
      is supported by:
[ EcoGozo, Ministry for Gozo ] [ Projects in Motion ] [ Sunrise Pet & Garden Centre] [ MycoMalta ]
Webpage is copyright of Stephen Mifsud / - (2002-2022)