Carpobrotus edulis is a creeping, mat-forming succulent species and member of the fig-marigold family, Aizoaceae, one of about 30 species in the genus Carpobrotus. C. edulis is easily confused with its close relatives, including the more diminutive and less aggressive Carpobrotus chilensis, with which it hybridizes readily. C. edulis can, however, be distinguished from most of its relatives by the size and colour of its flowers. The large, 2.5 to 6 inches (64 to 152 mm) diameter flowers of C. edulis are yellow or light pink, whereas the smaller, 1.5 to 2.5 inches (38 to 64 mm) diameter C. chilensis flowers are deep magenta.
On the flowers, two of the calyx lobes are longer, extending further than the petals. The leaves of C. edulis are only very slightly curved and have serrated sides near the tips.