Common names: Pigface, Karkalla, Ngunanies, Sea Fig, Beach Bananas
Taxonomic name: Carprobrotus rossii, Carprobrotus modestus
Habitat: Mallee near the coast, coastal
Form: Sprawling succulent
Flowering Time: Spring and early Summer
Ngarrindjeri name: Ngunanies
Kaurna name: Pigface – Karkalla Inland Pigface: Multyo. Fruit: Muityu
Description and uses:
Caprobrotus rossii is one of the sprawling, local native succulents called ‘Pigface’. It occurs near the coast, unlike its inland cousin, Inland Pigface (C. modestus) which, as the name suggests, occurs inland.
This is the one that, in summer, bears succulent fruit from where the pink or purple flowers were between April and October. The leaves are triangular in cross section.
These fruit are a popular bushfood, as, when squeezed out (you don’t eat the skin), they have the texture of a fig, and the taste of strawberry! They are wonderful dipped in chocolate and eaten with ice cream. The fruits get pinker as they age. The pinker the better.
The insides of a nearly dry fruit are very tasty too, but in a way that’s different from the ripe fruit. They can be made into cakes but since risking chewing on one of the dry fruit back in 2016, I’ve been addicted to the gooey, salty black mess inside. I’ve shared it with a couple of Ngarrindjeri Elders who can’t remember Pigface being eaten that way. We jokingly call it ‘Native Vegemite’ or ‘Bush Vegemite’.
The juice from the fresh leaves can be used in much the same way as Aloe vera, for sunburn (before or after the sun has done its thing), bites and stings. Leaves can be eaten raw or cooked usually roasted and squeezing their juice straight into your mouth is a tasty treat when foraging or walking.
Pigface flowers are a beautiful purple with a yellow centre and are very abundant.