Portulacaria afra

August 24, 2017 Chelsea Quimby

Elephant Bush

Botanical Name: Portulacaria afra
Height: 2- 3′
Width: 2′
Exposure: Full Sun, Part Sun
Performance: Annual

Portulacaria afra is native to South Africa where it is called ‘Spekboom’ (Beacon Tree) by the Afrikaans. In Africa, it is an essential plant for browsing wildlife. The leaves are also commonly eaten in Southern Africa in soups and salads to add a tart flavor. It is also commonly referred to as Elephant Bush because it is heavily grazed by elephants.

It can remain succulent for long periods of searing heat and drought. It has thick upright mahogany stems with round green succulent leaves. It is hardy to around 25-30 degrees Fahrenheit.

This plant has enormous carbon-storing capabilities that offset harmful carbon emissions. Also, it is perfect for the concrete jungle. It works well in mixed succulent containers as the upright element or as annual texture in a xeric garden. It can also be grown as a bonsai.