Sour fig (Carpobrotus acinaciformis). Featured plant at Towerkop Nursery.

Sour fig

Sour fig


Carpobrotus acinaciformis (Sour fig, Suurvy)


The name is derived from the Greek words karpos (fruit) and brota (edible). The common names suurvy and sour fig are widely used. (1)


This fleshy succulent is a perennial mat-like creeper. The large purple flowers develop into a fragrant fleshy sour-sweet friut often sold on street markets in the Cape. The fruit is used in jams and curry dishes. The leaf juice is said to be mildly antiseptic and highly astringent, traditionally gargled to treat infections of the mouth and throat. (2)


The more common Carpobrotus edulis (yellow flowers) originally occurred in sandy areas in the western, southern and eastern cape but it is now commonly grown in many parts of the world often as a ground cover to stabilize banks. C. acinaciformis has a restricted distribution and is more or less confined to the Western Cape. (2)


Species of Carpobrotus flower abundantly from early spring to summer. Flowers open in the morning and close at night. Plants grow easily from cuttings or seeds and are tolerant of a wide range of soils. (1)




  1. Mesembs of the world
  2. Medicinal plants of South Africa by Ben-erik van wyk, Bosch van Oudtshoorn, Nigel Gericke.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s