by Stephen Mifsud
   25 Jul 2024      ()
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Carpobrotus acinaciformis s.str.   (Glaucous Hottenot Fig)

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

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Profile Date Oct-2007 (taxon update: Sep-2022)
Citation for this page Mifsud, S. (2022). Carpobrotus acinaciformis s.str. - datasheet created on Oct-2007. Retrieved from on 25-Jul-2024

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Carpobrotus acinaciformis s.str.(L.) L. Bolus
Published in Fl. Pl. South Africa 7: t. 247 (1927)

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

Mesembryanthemum acinaciforme 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) :

Glaucous Hottenot Fig, Point Sourfig Iceplant

Maltese name(s) :

Xuxet San Ġwann iż-żgħira, Is-Swaba tal-Madonna iż-żgħira

Status for Malta :

Invasive Alien. Species that was introduced in Malta any time after year 1492 (Columbus' discovery of the New World), and spreads rapidly to form large invasive populations to the detriment of native flora or ecosystems.

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:



Not particularly toxic

Name Derivation :

acinaciformis s.str.:

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 edulis 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 if the longest sepals are up to 30mm long, flowers are purple-magenta, leaves scimitar shaped with isosceles triangular cross section, then the specimen is most likely C. acinaciformis . 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: Data will be available in the next update of this website.
Preferred habitat in Malta: Invasive horticultural escape found in disturbed areas especially close to the touristic areas, coasts and wasteground.
Botanical Description: Data will be available in the next update of this website.
Chromosome number: 2n=18

Distributional map in Europe
and the Mediterranean region (2018):
Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(from Euro+Med Checklist, 2019)
  Country codes  
[nAg nAz(J) nBl Bl(I M N) nBr nCa Ca(C) nCo aCr aCy nGa(F) nGr nHs Hs(S) nIt nLi nLu nMa nSa -Si(M) nSi(S) 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 (9 images)
   Carpobrotus acinaciformis s.str.   -   Image Code: CRBAC-0.
   Carpobrotus acinaciformis s.str.   -   Image Code: CRBAC-1.
   Carpobrotus acinaciformis s.str.   -   Image Code: CRBAC-2.
   Carpobrotus acinaciformis s.str.   -   Image Code: CRBAC-3.
   Carpobrotus acinaciformis s.str.   -   Image Code: CRBAC-4.
   Carpobrotus acinaciformis s.str.   -   Image Code: CRBAC-5.
   Carpobrotus acinaciformis s.str.   -   Image Code: CRBAC-6.
   Carpobrotus acinaciformis s.str.   -   Image Code: CRBAC-7.
   Carpobrotus acinaciformis s.str.   -   Image Code: CRBAC-8.

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