Spekboom


Spekboom

Portulacaria afra

Scientific name

It is a soft-wooded, semi-evergreen upright shrub or small tree, usually 2.5-4.5 metres (8-15 ft) tall. Similar in appearance to the unrelated "jade plant" Crassula ovata (family Crassulaceae), P. afra has smaller and rounder pads and more compact growth (shorter internodal spaces, down to 1.5 mm). It is much hardier, faster growing, more loosely branched, and has more limber tapering branches than Crassula once established.

It is very widespread in the east of South Africa (including Swaziland). In this moist climate, it is relatively rare, and tends to favour dryer rocky outcrops and slopes.

It is also found in much denser numbers in the dryer southern Cape. Here it occurs from the "Little Karoo" of the Western Cape, eastwards up until the thicket vegetation of the Eastern Cape.[3] Spekboom is found most prolifically in the Albany thickets, a woodland ecoregion, which locally is often called noorsveld, after the high number of succulent Euphorbia species, which are often called noors plants.

References and further reading

PlantZAfrica profile »

Wikipedia page »

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons.
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Important characteristics

This species was selected because it has various important characteristics.

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