isiXhosa: Unomatyumtyum, Igcukuma

Afrikaans: Kaapsevy

Sour fig

Sour fig

Carpobrotus edulis

Scientific name

Carpobrotus edulis is a creeping, mat-forming succulent species and member of the stone plant family Aizoaceae, one of about 30 species in the genus Carpobrotus.

The sour fig grows on coastal and inland slopes from Namaqualand in the Northern Cape through the Western Cape to the Eastern Cape. It is often seen as a pioneer in disturbed sites.

Leaves are eaten by tortoises. Flowers are pollinated by solitary bees, honey bees, carpenter bees, and many beetle species. Flowers are eaten by antelopes and baboons. The clumps provide shelter for snails, lizards, and skinks. Fruits are eaten by baboons, rodents, porcupines, antelopes, and people, who also disperse the seeds.

The leaves and fruit have many uses including medicinal. See:

Other names: 'khoi'-vy, Klipbokvy, Perdevy, Rankvy, Rankvye, Strandvy, Suurvy, Vyerank, Vyeranke, Wilde Vijg

Propagation instructions

By cutting

Cuttings are easiest and can take without pre-rooting most of the year. Cut a 15cm section and remove the bottom pairs of leaves and insert into the ground.

References and further reading

PlantZAfrica profile »

Wikipedia page »

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons.
We currently have no seeds of this species in our seedbanks. Do you have any seeds or do you know where we can get some? Get in touch!

This table below shows how many plants we are trying to obtain for this species.

Site Area Quantity
Site #2 Delft 10
Site #3 Delft 8
Site #5 Delft 6
Site #8 Delft 8
Site #9 Delft 20
Site #11 Delft 60
Site #12 Delft 40
Site #13 Delft 6
Site #1 Delft 6
Site #15 Rosebank 30
Site #28 Mowbray 120
Site #44 Rosebank 500
Site #62 Newlands 30
Site #67 Rondebosch 250
Site #68 Rondebosch 500
Site #69 Rondebosch 250
Site #71 Rondebosch 250
Site #72 Rondebosch 250
Site #80 Rosebank 1000
Site #102 Newlands 20
Site #96 Bonteheuwel 20
Site #103 Mowbray 20
Site #95 Bonteheuwel 20
Site #104 Athlone 20
Site #105 Rosebank 20
Site #107 Mowbray 0
Site #127 Rosebank 100
17 other sites 3370
Total 3564

Important characteristics

Conservation status: Least Concern

This species was selected because it has various important characteristics.

It provides medicinal value

It is a pioneer species suitable for establishing the soil in bare areas


Pioneer species

Easy to grow

It provides food for:


Monkey beetle

Carpobrotus edulis is indigenous to: Cape Flats Sand Fynbos Cape Flats Dune Strandveld Cape Flats Dune Strandveld Cape Flats Sand Fynbos Cape Flats Dune Strandveld

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