Thomas J. Elpel's
Web World Portal

Wildflower Logo.
Wildflowers & Weeds

Facebook Button.
Banner Image.  
Plant Identification, Edible Plants, Weed Ecology, Mushrooms, and more.
Home | Plant Identification | Plant Families Gallery | Edible Plants | Mushrooms | Links
Desertification & Weed Ecology | Weed Profiles | E-Mail | Search this Site

Plants of the Carpetweed Family

(Formerly known as the Fig-marigold Family: Ficoidaceae)

      If you have ever seen a succulent plant at the beach with fat, angular leaves then you have likely encountered one or another member of the Carpetweed family. The fleshy, globular leaves of some species resemble stones or pebbles. Other species are known as "ice plants" due to the glistening bladder-like cells that cover the stems, leaves, and fruits. These are mostly succulent plants, either erect, or sprawling across the ground, with simple, alternate or opposite leaves. The flowers are bisexual in most (not all) species, with 5 sepals (sometimes 3 to 8) usually united at the base. There are no true petals, but some species have numerous skinny "petals" derived from sterile stamens. The ovary matures as a capsule with one to numerous seeds per cell.

      Worldwide there are about 135 genera and 1900 species, mostly native to southern Africa, with a few species endemic to Australia and Pacific islands. Ice plant (Carpobrotus edulis) and sea fig (C. chilensis) have been widely introduced as a ground cover to control erosion, often becoming invasive. As the species name C. edulis suggests, ice plant and many of its relatives are considered edible. This family is not included in Botany in a Day.

Please e-mail Thomas J. Elpel to report mistakes or to inquire about purchasing high resolution photos of these plants.

Aptenia cordifolia. Heartleaf Iceplant.

Aptenia cordifolia. Heartleaf Iceplant. Possibly hybridized with A. haeckeliana. Native to southern Africa. Photographed in Mexico City.

Carpobrotus chilensis. Sea Fig or Ice Plant.

Carpobrotus chilensis. Sea fig or ice plant. Imported from southern Africa. Photographed in California.

There are more
Carpetweed Family pictures

Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification
Identify plants with
Botany in a Day
Foraging the Mountain West
Start feasting with
Foraging the Mountain West

Return to the Plant Families Index
Return to the Wildflowers & Weeds Home Page

      Looking for life-changing resources? Check out these books by Thomas J. Elpel:

Green Prosperity: Quit Your Job, Live Your Dreams.
Roadmap to Reality: Consciousness, Worldviews, and the Blossoming of Human Spirit
to Reality
Living Homes: Stone Masonry, Log, and Strawbale Construction
Participating in Nature: Wilderness Survival and Primitive Living Skills.
in Nature
Foraging the Mountain West: Gourmet Edible Plants, Mushrooms, and Meat.
Foraging the
Mountain West
Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification
in a Day
Shanleya's Quest: A Botany Adventure for Kids

Portal Icon.
Return to Thomas J. Elpel's
Web World Portal | Web World Tunnel

Thomas J. Elpel's Web World Pages
About Tom | Green University®, LLC
HOPS Press, LLC | Dirt Cheap Builder Books
Primitive Living Skills | Outdoor Wilderness Living School, LLC
Wildflowers & Weeds | Jefferson River Canoe Trail
Roadmap To Reality | What's New?

© 1997 - 2021 Thomas J. Elpel