Aptenia cordifolia (L.f.) Schwantes

Heart-leaf Ice-plant

Gartenflora 77: 69 (1928) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Naturalised

Leaves fleshy, broadly ovate to rhombic, c. 1–2 cm long; petiole to 0.5–1 cm long. Pedicels to c. 1 cm long, elongating in fruit; larger sepals at anthesis ovate, c. 1 cm long, 0.5 cm wide; smaller sepals linear or narrowly triangular, to c. 7 mm long, 3 mm wide; sepals enlarging in fruit. Flowers 5–8 mm across. Capsule obconic, c. 10 mm long, 7 mm wide. Seeds very hard, ± circular, with a flattened dorsal ridge, prominently tuberculate, 1–1.5 mm diam. Flowers Oct.–Mar.

*CVU, *EGL, *GipP, *HSF, *MuM, *OtP, *VVP. Also SA, NSW, Tas. Occurs in coastal sites (Melbourne area, Lakes Entrance, Marlo) and drier areas inland where saline or rocky (e.g. far northwest, Craigieburn, Keilor, Heyfield).

Plants that are grown in gardens and available in the nursery trade are frequently confused with Aptenia cordifolia. The cultivated plants are of hybrid origin involving Aptenia cordifolia and Aptenia haeckeliana. There are several selections of the hybrid that are available. The form that is usually seen in cultivation in Victoria is often referred to as Aptenia 'Baby Sun Rose'.  A. cordifolia is readily distinguished from the hybrid on account of its cordate leaf bases, leaves are duller with more prominent papillae, and it has smaller flowers (ca. 15–20 mm across in the hybrid) which are pink to magenta. The leaf bases in the hybrid usually taper rather abruptly, the leaves are broad-lanceolate or ovate, lustrous, with less obvious papillae, and the flowers are usually deep reddish-pink. The hybrid is not known to be naturalised in Victoria.

Source: Walsh, N.G. (1996). Aizoaceae. In: Walsh, N.G.; Entwisle, T.J. (eds), Flora of Victoria Vol. 3, Dicotyledons Winteraceae to Myrtaceae. Inkata Press, Melbourne.
Updated by: Val Stajsic, 2016-03-17
Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Caryophyllanae
family Aizoaceae
genus Aptenia
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <http://avh.chah.org.au>. Find Aptenia cordifolia in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Aptenia cordifolia in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Murray Mallee present introduced
Victorian Volcanic Plain present naturalised
Gippsland Plain present naturalised
Otway Plain present naturalised
Central Victorian Uplands present naturalised
East Gippsland Lowlands present naturalised
Highlands-Southern Fall present naturalised

State distribution

Distribution map
Western Australia
South Australia
New South Wales