Sea Fig, or Iceplant
, is in the genus Carpobrotus
and the family Aizoaceae
. This plant is a succulent ground cover, with brightly colored flowers, and triangular leaves. Originally native to South Africa
, it has been introduced to Chile
. In its preferred coastal habitat, it is found on sandy slopes and dunes. Where it is not native it is sometimes a problem as it crowds out native plant
s. It is a problem all along the coast of California
Many people plant this weed to stabilize slopes in sandy areas. It does a decent job of this, but if there is any major disturbance it will fail as its roots aren't all that deep. It does well without a lot of water, and is completely fire resistant due to its succulence. Trying to burn this is like trying to burn a wet sponge. However, due to its invasiveness and weediness, it isn't the best choice for bank stabilization in California.
On a side note, when we were kids we'd love sliding down slopes covered with this stuff. The leaves would pop as we slid down, making the slope very slippery and staining our pants green. Since it tore up the plants and stained our pants we weren't supposed to do it...but we did anyway.