Like all other aizoaceae species in the US, malephora crocea
is native to Africa; it has become established in far southwest California, from the Mexican border northwards to the vicinity of Gaviota, along the coast and in some nearly, low elevation areas inland. It is often locally common, and blooms most of the year. Some specimens are naturalized, others have been deliberately planted, for landscaping, including alongside freeways.
The showy, solitary flowers are attached by stalks of up to 2 inches; they consist of between four and six sepals, two of which are shorter than the others, and several dozen narrow petals, coloured yellow, red, orange or intermediate shades. At the center are several rings of short, orange-yellow stamens.