San Marcos Growers LogoSan Marcos Growers
New User
Wholesale Login
Enter Password
Home Products Purchase Gardens About Us Resources Contact Us
Nursery Closure
Search Utilities
Plant Database
Search Plant Name
Detail Search Avanced Search Go Button
Search by size, origins,
details, cultural needs
Website Search Search Website GO button
Search for any word
Site Map
Retail Locator
Plant Listings


  for JULY

Natives at San Marcos Growers
Succulents at San Marcos Growers
 Weather Station

Products > Malephora lutea
Malephora lutea - Yellow Ice Plant
Image of Malephora lutea
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Succulent
Family: Aizoaceae (Ice Plants)
Origin: South Africa (Africa)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Yellow & Orange
Bloomtime: Year-round
Synonyms: (Hymenocyclus luteus, Mesembryanthemum luteum)
Height: <1 foot
Width: 3-4 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 15-20 F
Malephora lutea (Yellow Ice Plant) - An evergreen spreading and mat-forming succulent to about 8 inches tall and spreading 4 feet or more with succulent smooth bright green narrow 1 to 2 inch long leaves that are hemispherical (semi-terete) to circular in cross-section. Nearly year-round (from late fall into early summer), with the strongest display in spring, appear the 1 inch wide bright golden yellow daisy-like flowers that have about 20 long narrow petals. Plant in full to part sun in a well drained soil and irrigate occasionally to infrequently - a heat and drought tolerant plant. Listed as hardy to around 15 F. Nice as a large potted specimen and makes a solid drought tolerant groundcover on a slope or well drained level ground in full or part sun where its cheery flowers are attractive to bees and insects but does not lend itself to areas where there is foot traffic. This plant grows naturally in the south western Cape Province into the Karoo of South Africa. The name for the genus comes from the Greek words 'mal' meaning "arm-hole" or "arm pit" and 'pherein' meaning "to bear", thought to be a reference to the connection attachment between the stem and the opposite leaves that are slightly fused at the base. The specific epithet means yellow, a reference to the golden yellow flower color. This plant is sometimes called Rocky Point Ice Plant and the story about this varies by the information source. While some state that the origin of the name comes from a location in South Africa where this plant is native, and indeed there is such a location in the Western Cape across False Bay from Cape Town called Rocky Point that is at the base of the Rooi-Els headlands, one reliable source however notes that the name came about from plants in cultivation collected from a garden planting at Puerto Penasco, a small fishing village on the mainland side of Sea of Cortes in Mexico near the US border that has become a popular tourist destination from those coming from Arizona and has come to be called "Rocky Point" by visitors. Various sources also list this plant as Malephora luteola or as M. lutea, which are both valid names of similar but different plants. It seems that the plant is correctly M. lutea as M. luteola, a plant listed as having an unknown natural distribution by Heidi Hartman in her treatment of the genus in the Illustrated Handbook of Succulent plants (Aizoaceae) (Springer, 2001) where she noted that was described by Adrian Hardy Haworth as a quarter the size of M. lutea. Ernst van Jaarsveld and Uys de Villiers Pienaar make no mention of M. luteola in their Vygies: Gems of the Veld (Cactus & Co., 2000) but describe M. lutea as "Procumbent spreading plants. Leaves to 45 x 4 mm, yellowish-green. Flowers to 25 mm yellow or orange. Flowering time Spring to Summer, depending on rainfall. Distribution: Western Cape, Little Karoo." 

This information about Malephora lutea displayed is based on research conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.