The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Pickle Plant / Ice Plant

Afrikaans name: Doringblaarvygie

Flowers of the Pickle Plant

Pickle Plant flowers

Photo © Steven Herbert

Delosperma echinatum

The Pickle Plant, also known as the Ice Plant or Prickle Plant, is an attractive succulent that is only found in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. It is restricted to the coastal regions of this province.

It is a small sprawling plant that has short cylindrical leaves that are covered in short white prickles. The leaves are normally green in colour but may turn brown if water is in short supply. They only grow to about 45 cm in height.

During spring the plant is covered in its small flowers. The flowers are yellowish or whitish in colour and are around 2 cm in diameter. As its alternate name of Ice Plant suggests it can withstand extreme weather conditions.

The Pickle Plant is easy to grow and is a popular garden plant in several countries around the world. They are easy to propagate. Just break off one of the stems, let it dry for 2 or 3 days, then embed it in soil. They are a good plant to add to a rockery or succulent garden but will also thrive in a container. Interestingly this plant had already been collected and established in Kew Gardens, in England, by 1774.

References and further reading

Field guide to Succulents of Southern Africa - Author: Gideon Smith & Neil Crouch - Published: 2017 - Page: 44

Succulent Flora of Southern Africa - 3rd edition - Author: Doreen Court - Published: 2010 - Page: 24


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