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Mesembryanthemum cordifolium L.f.

Family Name: Aizoaceae
Synonyms: Aptenia cordifolia (L.f.) Schwantes
Common Name: Baby Sun Rose, Heartleaf Iceplant, Ice Plant, Red Aptenia, Dew Plant, Rock Rose
Full Sun: 6-8h Little Water Hanging Basket Interiorscape / Indoor Plant Ornamental Flowers Ornamental Foliage Herbaceous


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Herbaceous Plant
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Maximum Height 0.3 m


Native Distribution South Africa
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Desert / Semi-Desert)
Preferred Climate Zone Desert / Arid

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Creeping succulent perennial.
Foliage Light green, smooth, fleshy leaves are ovate or heart-shaped with entire leaf margin (6 cm long, 2.5 cm wide). Opposite, stalkless leaves are slightly folded inwards.
Stems Stem may be 4-angled or round (60 cm long). It grows prostrate along the ground.
Flowers Bright red or orange flowers occur singly or in clusters of 3 at the stem tips (1.5 cm wide). The flowers resemble asters, having many thin, linear petals and a small yellow center. Flowers open around noon or early afternoon.
Fruits Dry, dehiscent fruits are known as capsules. Capsules are 4-chambered with each chamber containing one brown to black, rough-textured seed.
Associated Flora This species is endemic to South Africa. It is found along the coast or in areas that receive summer rainfall. It occurs at altitudes of 20 - 800 m.
Cultivation In Singapore, this species requires air conditioning to survive. For optimal growth, plant this species in fertile, well-draining sandy soil enriched with compost, leaving 0.5 - 0.6 m of space between individuals. Feed plants with a slow release fertilizer. For container plantings, use pots at least 20 cm deep and allow the soil to dry before rewatering. Propagate by seed, stem cuttings or division. Stem cuttings root easily in about 3 weeks.
Etymology The genus "Aptenia" is derived from the Latin word that means wingless ("apten"). The reference is to the seeds which lack wings. The species epithet "cordifolia" originates from the Latin words for heart ("cor") and leaf ("folium"). It refers to the heart-shaped leaves.
Ethnobotanical Uses [Others]: Medicine: The leaves are applied as a poultice on wounds. It is also used as a gentle enema for babies.

Landscaping Features

Landscaping It is suitable for container plantings and would be attractive draped over the sides of a hanging basket.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers, Ornamental Foliage
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Well-Drained Soils
Landscape Uses Flowerbed / Border, Hanging Basket, Container Planting, Interiorscape/ Indoor Plant
Usage Hazard - Cons Invasive / Potentially Invasive
Plant & Rootzone Preference or Tolerance Remarks Sandy soil

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna) (Insects (Bee))
Seed or Spore Dispersal Abiotic (Explosive Dehiscence)

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Little Water
Plant Growth Rate Fast
Maintenance Requirements Low
Propagation Method Seed, Stem Cutting, Division


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Smooth, Glossy / Shiny, Thick
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Opposite
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Ovate, Cordate)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Entire
Foliar Apex - Tip Acute
Foliar Base Rounded / Obtuse
Typical Foliar Area Microphyll ( 2.25cm2 - 20.25 cm2 )
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 4.5 (Shrub & Groundcover - Dicot)

Non - Foliar and Storage

Stem Type & Modification Herbaceous
Root Type Underground (Tap Root)
Specialised Storage Organ(s) Aboveground

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality 1 Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) Orange, Red
Flower Symmetry Radial
Individual Flower Shape Ligulate / Strap-shaped
Flower Size - Remarks 1.5 cm wide
Inflorescence Type Head / Capitulum
Flowering Period Free-Flowering
Flowering Opening Time Daytime
Flowering Habit Polycarpic

Fruit, Seed & Spore

Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type 1 Dehiscent Dry Fruit
Fruit Type 2 Follicle

Image Repository



Master ID 386
Species ID 1682
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 20 April 2020.