The Ice Plant (Carpobrotus edulis), or Higo del cabo in Spanish, is a ground-covering plant native to South Africa. It was brought to California in the early 1900s and was planted along railroad tracks in order to stabilize the soil and later used along roadways to help prevent erosion.
Also known as the Hottentot Fig, the Ice Plant is considered an invasive species as it tends to squeeze out and smother native plants. Growing along Highway 101 and the California coastline from Eureka to San Diego, it grows very well in Mediterranean climate zones like California and Australia.
To see more photos of the Ice Plant, visit the San Diego Natural History Museum’s San Diego County Plant Atlas.
PHOTO CREDIT: Jim Melli, SDNHM