This section is from the book "The Botanical Magazine; Or, Flower-Garden Displayed", by William Curtis. Also available from Amazon: The Botanical Magazine; or, Flower-Garden Displayed, Volume I.
Mesembryanthemum dolabriforme. Hatchet-leaved Fig-Marigold.
Cal. 5-fidus. Petala numerosa, linearia. Caps. carnosa infera, polysperma.
MESEMBRYANTHEMUM dolabriforme acaule, foliis dolabriformibus punctatis. Lin. Syst. Veg. p. 470.
FICOIDES capensis humilis, foliis cornua cervi referentibus, petalis luteis noctiflora, Bradl. suc. 1. p. 11. t. 10. Dillen Hort. Elth. t. 191. f. 237.
Though many Latin names of plants, as Geranium, Hepatica, Convolvulus, etc. are more familiar to the ear, and more generally used than their English ones, yet Mesembryanthemum though used by some, appears too long to be generally adopted, its English name of Fig-marigold is doubtless to be preferred.
The Fig-marigolds are a very numerous tribe, chiefly inhabitants of the Cape of Good Hope; no less than thirty-three species are figured in that inestimable work the Hortus Elthamensis of Dillenius. As most of these plants grow readily from slips, or cuttings, and require only the shelter of a common greenhouse, and as they recommend themselves to our notice, either from the extreme singularity of their foliage, the beauty of their flowers, or the peculiarity of their expansion, so they are a favourite class of plants with many.
The present species is a native of the Cape of Good Hope, and is particularly distinguished by having leaves somewhat resembling a hatchet, whence its name; it is as hardy as most, and flowers as freely, but its blossoms fully expand in the evening and night only.
It is very readily propagated by cuttings.