The beautiful but highly invasive succulent Hottentot Fig, Carpobrotus edulis from South Africa, is making a big impact on native coastal floras, here in California, but also in Australia, the Mediterranean and elsewhere.
It grows into huge areas of monospecific areas, where almost nothing else is able to penetrate the thicker and thicker mat of living and dead plants. I have seen dry mats of stiff dried leaves as thick as 10 to 15 inches, covered with a dense layer of live plant, by Bodega Bay.
Here, by the Point Bonita Lighthouse by the Marin Headlands, it may steal ground from rare species like the San Francisco Wall Flower.
To eradicate the plants, pull it up, use a tractor, or some kind of mechanical device.
Please resist any eventual strong temptations to use dynamite or weapons of mass destruction against the plant, it will do more harm than good to the environment.
Herbicides are used at certain localities, but there are reasons to believe these are having a stronger impact than previously known, on nearby vegetation. It should be used only in very controlled cases, if at all.
The herbicide may stay functional much longer than stated on the packet, maybe being caught up and transported into underground networks of roots or fungi. I have seen evidence of this several times, and also heard similar experiences from others.
In the Mediterranean, the invasive Black Rat (Rattus norvegicus, yes, I am Norwegian too!), favors eating the fruit of this succulent, effectively spreading its huge number of seeds by its faeces.
Point Bonita Lighthouse by the Marin Headlands, just to the north of San Francisco, California.
March 2017. ~
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