The genus Carpobrotus (karpos means fruit; brota means edible things in Greek), is made up of succulent plants that have procumbent branches that creep along the ground. The plants form a mat of strong-growing and attractive leaves, stems and flowers. The plants fare best in full sunlight and perform ground cover and retention functions against erosion.
The flowers are daisy-like and the edible fruits are sought after by animals and humans alike, commonly called suurvy in Afrikaans (sour fig). The species popular for making jam, Carpobrotus deliciosus, is commonly called gaukum, probably a word from a (nearly) lost indigenous San or Khoi language (Smith, et al, 1998).