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Portulacaria afra

   (Family: Portulaceae)
   
Afrikaans: Spekboom English: Porkbush, Elephants Food Xhosa: iGqwanitsha  EDIT
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Plant Type: EDIT  Shrub
Height: 2 - 5m
Special properties:
  Drought Resistant (heavy)
  Frost Tolerant (light)
  Has Medicinal Uses
Rarity Status:
Common
   
Preferred rainfall: Winter
Preferred position:
Full Sun
Tolerated soil:  
  Sand (coarse texture, drains easily),
Clay (fine texture, holds a lot of water)
Biome: Succulent Karoo
 
Flowering time EDIT
            x x x      
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Flower colours
 
Pink
 
  Polinator
  bees and beetles
  Flower info
  Small star-shaped pink flowers are borne en masse from late winter to spring.
 
 
Leaf shape EDIT
Leaf margin
Leaf texture Smooth
Bark / Stem type
 
  Leaf info EDIT
  Evergreen
 
 
 
 
  Seed info EDIT
 
 
 
Description EDIT
Growing EDIT
Distribution EDIT
It is found in warm situations on rocky slopes in succulent karoo scrub, thicket, bushveld and dry river valleys in the eastern parts of South Africa from the Eastern Cape northwards into KwaZulu-Natal, Swaziland, Mpumalanga and the Limpopo Province as well as Mozambique.
History EDIT
Uses EDIT
Spekboom has enormous carbon-storing capabilities. Its capacity to offset harmful carbon emissions is equivalent to that of moist, subtropical forest.
The leaves of the porkbush can be eaten and have a sour or tart flavour. It is heavily browsed by game and domestic stock and highly favoured by tortoises. The porkbush has also been indicated as a soil binder for preventing soil erosion. Traditional uses also include the increasing of breast milk by lactating mothers. The leaves are used to quench thirst, sucking a leaf is used to treat exhaustion, dehydration and heat stroke. Crushed leaves can be rubbed on blisters and corns on the feet to provide relief. The leaves are chewed as a treatment for sore throat and mouth infections while the astringent juice is used for soothing ailments of the skin such as pimples, rashes and insect stings. The juice is also used as an antiseptic and as a treatment for sunburn. It is also recorded that a small sprig of porkbush steamed with a tomato bredie (stew) imparts a delicious flavour. The honey made from the flowers of porkbush is said to be “ unsurpassable in flavour and texture”.
Ecology EDIT
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