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Story and photos by Russ Grayson

Pig face is a sprawling succulent common on coastal sand dunes. Noticable for its bright magenta or pale yellow-coloured flowers and thick, juicy angular leaves, it is an Australian bush food.

Common name: Pigface.

Botanic name: Carpobrotus glaucescens.

Growth form: Scrambling groundcover with succulent, fleshy, usually green leaves and magenta or pale yellow, daisy-shaped flowers mainly in Spring and Summer, although it may flower at other times as well.

Centre of diversity: Australia.

Natural habitat: Subtropical to temperate coasts. Sandy soils. A pioneer species of coastal sand dunes.

Useful part: Fruit pulp and triangular, succulent leaves.

Uses: Food, groundcover.

  • As a food, pigface fruit pulp is edible and the triangular cross-sectioned leaves are also edible raw or cooked and preserved as pickles. The fruit of the plant can be made into a jam.
  • As a groundcover, pigface protects soils from erosion and temperature extremes.

Reproduction: Cuttings, seed.

Garden design notes: Use pigface to protect soils from erosion and to retain moisture in soils exposed to strong sunlight. Established as an orchard area groundcover.

Notes: The juice of the leaves is said to relieve insect bites.

Photos: ©Russ Grayson. Creative Commons, attribution.

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