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Key to Pigfaces and similar plants

Leaves circular to triangular in cross-section (except for Common Ice Plant) and with daisy-like flowers (their ‘petals’ are actually sterile stamens or staminodes). This key is for naturalised species and may not apply to garden species and varieties. The key works by selecting one of the two choices given for each pair of descriptions, which lead to either another pair of descriptions or the identification of your species.

1. Leaves and stems with prominent hairs, glands or papillae (pimples)
1. Leaves and stems more or less smooth or minutely warty
2.Stems covered in erect, hollow hairs; leaves and flower buds densely papillose (coastal)
Rodondo Creeper
Drosanthemum candens)
2. Leaves, stems and flower buds covered with glistening bead-like glands
3. Leaves flat and broad, to at least 5mm wide
Common Ice Plant
Mesembryanthemum crystallinum)
3. Leaves more or less terete (narrow cylindrical), up to 2mm wide
Small Ice Plant
Mesembryanthemum nodiflorum)
4. Leaves fleshy but broad and flat; flowers small with red ‘petals’
Heart-leaf Ice-plant
Aptenia cordifolia)
4. Leaves terete to trigonous (triangular in cross-section); flower ‘petals’ not red
5. Leaves withering and soon deciduous, leaving the persistent leaf-bases on terete stems; flowers small with white ‘petals’ (far north-west)
Wiry Noon-flower
Psilocaulon tenue)
5. Leaves persistent; flowers with pink, purple or yellow ‘petals’
6.Leaves less than 2 cm long, 1-3 mm wide and more or less terete
Little Noon-flower
Lampranthus tegens)
6.Leaves generally more than 3 cm long, more than 3 mm wide and more or less trigonous
7. Leaves with convex faces and rounded angles; flowers stalked; fruit a dehiscent capsule
Rounded Noon-flower
Disphyma crassifolium)
7. Leaves with slightly convex, flat or concave faces and sharp angles; flowers usually not noticeably stalked; fruit fleshy and indehiscent
8. Leaves minutely warty; flowers with 1-5 styles (far north-west)
Sarcozona praecox)
8. Leaves smooth, flowers with 6-10 styles
9.‘Petals’ yellow (coastal)
Hottentot Fig
Carpobrotus edulis)
9.‘Petals’ pink to purple
10.‘Petals’ pink throughout their length (though paler at the base)
Angled Pigface
Carpobrotus aequilaterus)
10.‘Petals’ with white bases
11.‘Petals’ generally less than 15 mm long; leaves bluish-green
Inland Pigface
Carpobrotus modestus)
11.Flowers 3.5 cm or more diameter ‘petals’ at least 15 mm long
12.Stamens in 5-6 series; 'petals' in 3-4 series leaves bluish-green (far-east Gippsland)
Glaucous Pigface
Carpobrotus glaucescens)
12.Stamens in 3-4 series; 'petals' in 2-3 series
13.Leaves usually green (coastal)
Carpobrotus rossii)
13.Leaves bluish-green (far north-west)
Long-leaf Pigface
(Carpobrotus aff. rossii)
Common Ice Plant - flower
Common Ice Plant
Photo: A J Brown
Small Ice Plant
Small Ice Plant

Photo: A J Brown
Photo: Rounded Noonflower - red leaves
Rounded Noon-flower
Photo: A J Brown
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