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Fire and Ice (Plants): Rolling Out the Purply Pink Carpet

The traffic islands around here are truly one of the natural wonders of the world. A couple weeks ago, we noticed that one of our regular concrete drive-bys became irradiated overnight with thousands of fuchsia-color flowers. Turns out, it’s a type of athletically spreading succulent, an ice plant called pink carpet. Delosperma cooperi to be exact.

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We weren’t so sure about this ID at first because we’re accustomed to ice plants that are cartoonishly chunky, like the ones that grow in abundance along the beaches near our house. From afar, pink carpet bears a 45-miles-an-hour passing resemblance to African daisies; it’s not until you get up close to the pink carpet that you see the puffed-up leaves that are smooth and cool to the touch. In addition to the traffic islands leading to highways, we’ve spotted this creeper (which likes to pile up upon itself so that it renders taller than your average member of the Aizoaceae family) in front of a residential doctor’s office.

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And just like other ice plants, pink carpet is absurdly easy to propagate; just drop a cutting into any patch of good dirt that’s in need of some flair. You could even snag one during an extra-long red light.