• East view from Crissy Field overlook with old Coast Guard station on left and city on right

    Presidio of San Francisco


Ice Plant

(Carpobrotus edulis)
ice plant
Ice Plant on the coastal bluffs.
Will Elder, NPS

Origin Of Genus Name: Carpobrotus is Greek for "edible fruit."

Presidio Locations: Found in the foredune, middle dune, and back dune communities.

Range In State: Throughout coastal California.

Description: This exotic perennial species is from coastal South Africa and has yellow, pink or white flowers. Fleshy leaves are triangular in cross sections and can have red, orange, or purple edges. Ice Plant, also known as Hottentot Fig, was originally used along highways to stabilize blowing dunes. By forming a dense, invasive, low growing mat, it prevents the natural movement of sand, which most native dune species need to survive. It also increases soil salinity therefore discouraging the growth of indigenous plants. Blooms April to October.

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Did You Know?

Franciscan monk

In 1776, Father Pedro Font wrote, "The port of San Francisco...is a marvel of nature, and might well be called a harbor of harbors...And I think if it could be well settled like Europe there would not be anything more beautiful in all the world."