Carpobrotus glaucescens


Carpobrotus: From the Greek karpos 'fruit' and brotus 'edible', the fruits of some species being edible.
glaucescens: becoming glaucous

Common Name(s)

pig face

Current Conservation Status

2012 - Non Resident Native - Coloniser

Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2012
The conservation status of all known New Zealand vascular plant taxa at the rank of species and below were reassessed in 2012 using the New Zealand Threat Classification System (NZTCS). This report includes a statistical summary and brief notes on changes since 2009 and replaces all previous NZTCS lists for vascular plants. Authors: Peter J. de Lange, Jeremy R. Rolfe, Paul D. Champion, Shannel P. Courtney, Peter B. Heenan, John W. Barkla, Ewen K. Cameron, David A. Norton and Rodney A. Hitchmough. File size: 792KB

Previous Conservation Status

2009 - Non Resident Native - Coloniser
2004 - Not Threatened


2012 - SO
2009 - SO


Carpobrotus glaucescens (Haw.) Schwantes



Flora Category

Vascular - Native

NVS Species Code


The National Vegetation Survey (NVS) Databank is a physical archive and electronic databank containing records of over 94,000 vegetation survey plots - including data from over 19,000 permanent plots. NVS maintains a standard set of species code abbreviations that correspond to standard scientific plant names from the Ngä Tipu o Aotearoa - New Zealand Plants database.

Structural Class

Dicotyledonous Herbs other than Composites


Mesembryanthemum glaucescens Haw.


Indigenous: New Zealand: North Island (Coromandel Peninsula, Otama). Present also in Australia, Lord Howe and Norfolk Islands.


Mainly a strand line species of sandy beaches which occasionally colonises coastal headlands, or grows under coastal forest


Succulent, glabrous perennial. Stems prostrate, widely spreading, rooting at nodes. Leaves opposite, triquetrous, very succulent, basally connate, ensheathing stem, 30-100 × 8-15 mm, light-green, faintly glaucous, adaxial and lateral faces flat, lamina becoming convex toward base; keel crenulate in upper portion, otherwise smooth. Flowers solitary, terminal, 40-60 mm diameter. Pedicels 10-30 mm long. Sepals 5 with 2 larger than the others, triquetrous and opposite, smaller 3 with membranous margins. Petals numerous, magenta, white at base. Stamens 300-400, 5-6-seriate. Styles 7-10. Fruit fleshy, indehiscent, ellipsoidal, 20-30 mm long, reddish, edible, tasting of strawberries.

Similar Taxa

Differs from the other two naturalised species in New Zealand, C. chilensis and C. edulis by the glaucescent leaves, and smaller (40-60 mm diameter cf. 65-100 mm diameter) magenta rather than purple (C. chilensis) or yellow (C. edulis) flowers.


Throughout the year

Flower Colours

Red / Pink,White


Throughout the year

Propagation Technique

Easily grown from rooted pieces, fruits and by the division of established plants.


Carpobrotus glaucescens has been controlled as a weed species within its only known New Zealand locations. At the time this was done it had not been considered that it might be a natural, self-introduction. It is not known if it now survives in the wild in New Zealand.

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Life Cycle and Dispersal

Fleshy capsules are dispersed by frugivory and possibly wind and water (Thorsen et al., 2009).




Fact sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange (12 December 2007). Description adapted from Green (1994) supplemented with observations made from live plants and herbarium specimens.

References and further reading

Green, P.S. 1994: Flora of Australia Volume 49, Oceanic Islands 1. Canberra, Australian Government Publishing Service

Thorsen, M. J.; Dickinson, K. J. M.; Seddon, P. J. 2009. Seed dispersal systems in the New Zealand flora. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 2009 Vol. 11 No. 4 pp. 285-309

This page last updated on 31 Jul 2014