Carpobrotus leaves mostly do not divulge much towards species identification. They are great for identifying the genus though. The three-sided succulent leaf pairs on trailing stems may display only slight colour, size and shape variations. The leaves are triangular in cross-section. Some species have narrowly winged leaves and the opposite leaf pairs fused at the base, as is the case here in Carpobrotus acinaciformis.
The leaves are hairless, sometimes shiny and smooth. Their colour is fresh to dark green, similar to those of C. edulis, while differing from some of the blue-grey leaved species. These leaves may become reddish in stressed conditions. Leaf shape is elegant, curving inwards slightly; sometimes compared to the shape of a sabre. The fleshy young stems are paler than the leaves.
Not only the fruits, but also the flowers and leaves count among Carpobrotus delicacies that attract a multitude of animals, including tortoises, porcupines, baboons and antelopes. Snakes such as puff-adders favour the plant for ambushing small rodents in search of a meal, just as birds may find either nectar or nectar seeking insects at a flower.
Apart from being an instrument of procreation and a source of beauty, a flower may also be a food source, a meeting place and a killing ground (Smith, et al, 1998; www.plantzafrica.com).