Spekboom – Portulacaria afra / Porkbush


Immergroen en eetbaar – Die eerste blankes wat hierdie deel van die Ooskaap ingekom het, was jagters wat reeds in 1702 hier in die Sondagsrivier vallei kom olifante jag het. Vyftig jaar na die koms van Jan van Riebeeck na die Kaap was die vallei dus al bekend vir sy olifante – alles te danke aan sy welige stand van Spekboom. Spekboom was vroeg reeds bekend in Europa. Reeds in 1771 het die bekende plantkundige, Linnaus, gerapporteer oor een wat blom in Italië en met die uitbreek van die Franse Revolusie in 1786, blom een in Wene. Ook vroeë reisigers deur suidelike Afrika meld gereeld die voorkoms van Spekboom. Daar is ook verskillende kleure beskikbaar en dit maak ‘n pragtige struik.  Dit kan ook as Bonsai in jou huis groei .

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We can go on and on about our wonder plant, the Spekboom tree. This little plant is an environmental miracle worker – and we’re here to share it with you.

The star of our show, Spekboom, is a succulent tree native to the Karoo region of South Africa. Also known as Portulacaria Afra or Elephant’s Food, Spekboom trees grow to between 2 and 5 meters tall and can live up to 200 years.

The plant is easy to grow and is very resilient – our wonder plant can survive frost, drought, and fire.

As with most trees, Spekboom absorbs carbon from the air to make plant tissue. Unlike most trees, however, is the degree to which this little plant can reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Studies show that one tree captures 4 to 8 kg per year when it is mature, that means spekboom is about 100 times more effective at reducing carbon than a pine tree.

Another big reward is the fact that a Spekboom thicket stimulates the biodiversity, because it enables other plants and animals to grow and live in it.

Other fun facts about our wonder plant:

It’s beautiful, edible, high in basic nutrients, and can treat dehydration.

Clearly, Spekboom isn’t just any plant – it’s a wonder plant.




Baobab Style, Spekboom Bonsai Forest, August 2015


Portulacaria Afra Mame bonsái Moyogi Poda defoliado trasplante y brotación JG 2015


Ons moet kyk na onsself en ook help om ons eie omgewing beter te maak, beter te bewaar vir ons nageslag. Ander gaan dit nie vir ons doen nie. Ons maak ook gebruik van tegnologie en ons kan ook ‘n klein deel bydrae om die natuur te verbeter.   Hulle het nie baie aandag nodig nie en ook nie verskriklik water nie. Inteendeel is hulle blare heerlik, suur of andersinds soms “frankerig”.

Spekbome kan ook “klein” groei (bonsai) in jou huis. Hulle word reusagtig in die natuur.   Kan ook vir vee gevoer word.

Ek wil regtig mense aanmoedig om die Spekboom aan te plant, dit plant regtig maklik van ‘n steggie en is ook te koop.

Dit kan ook in slaai gebruik word, is eetbaar en het ook mediese waardes.


Spekboom is edible and apparently has a light, citrus-like flavour.

Spekboom (portulacaria afra) is a succulent that helps fight air pollution. It has the ability to “sequester” or capture four to ten tons of carbon per hectare! Essentially, it acts as a carbon sponge, absorbing carbon from the atmosphere and turning it into plant matter. Excess carbon in the atmosphere is responsible for global warming, so the more carbon we can remove from the air and return to the ground, the better.

  • Spekboom is a proudly South African plant

Spekboom is indigenous to the Eastern Cape where South African elephants consider the plant a delicacy.

  • It’s water wise

No time to water your garden? Spekboom is a water-wise plant that’s ideal for low-maintenance gardens. This drought-resistant plant can survive on just 250 to 350mm of water a year!

  • Suitable for all seasons and weather conditions

Spekboom has a photosynthetic mechanism that allows it to adapt to both rain forest-like conditions and semi-arid conditions, making it incredibly adaptable and suited to almost any garden.

  • Even better, spekboom is easy to grow

Spekboom is easily propagated, which is great news for budget gardeners. Simply cut or break off a piece of a spekboom, let it dry out for one or two days and then stick it in the ground. Give it a little water every few days and you’ll soon have a new spekboom plant of your own. Make sure you don’t give it too much water or it will rot.

  • Spekboom is a really versatile plant

Whether you are looking for a plant that can be turned into a hedge or a bonsai, or used as a ground cover or a large bush, spekboom can do it all. It responds well to pruning and grows densely, making it an excellent, hardy screen or hedge. Some varieties grow low to the ground and others reach as high as 2 metres!

  • You can even eat spekboom

We’re not suggesting you chow down on a plate of spekboom, but it is edible and apparently has a light, citrus-like flavour. If you ever find yourself hiking through the Karoo, you can suck on a leaf – they are traditionally used to treat exhaustion and dehydration.



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Navorsing het bewys dat Vallei Bosveld (Xerix Succulent Thicket) en veral Spekboom een van die mees suksesvolle Koolstof Vangputte ter wêreld is.   ‘n Spekboom kan tot 100 keer meer koolstof uit die atmosfeer haal as wat „n denneboom van dieselfde grootte kan doen.

Hierdie tipe bosveld kom net in Suid-Afrika, Meksiko en Spanje voor, maar is reeds grootliks uitgeroei in laasgenoemde twee lande.

Spekboom gaan dus „n revolusionêre omwenteling in boerdery in die Ooskaap in die toekoms veroorsaak. Honderde miljoene rande behoort uiteindelik beskikbaar te wees om boere te betaal om hul Spekboomveld weer te laat herstel, deur hul veegetalle te verminder of Spekboom aan te plant.

Op die oomblik is daar projekte aan die gang om honderde hektaar uitgetrapte kaal veld in die omstreke van die Sondagsrivier en die Baviaanskloof weer onder Spekboom te vestig. Boere gaan dus in die toekoms dalk boer met koolstof deur middel van hul Spekbome.


So skryf Thomas Pringle in sy African Sketches van 1834:
The spekboom, with its light green leaves and lilac blossoms … en later verwys hy na … browsing on the succulent spekboom, which clothed the skirts of the hills.

In 1843 se Cape of Good Hope Almanac lees ons: One of the most valuable shrubs…is the spekboom (portulacaria afra). It is found in great abundance on the stony ridges and affords excellent food for those large flocks of sheep, and especially of goats… In severe droughts this bush is truly invaluable.

Vandag dra die Spekboom die toerismebedryf van die Ooskaap met sy talle wildplase, natuurparke en die Groot Vyf wat weer oral hervestig is in hul ou na-tuurlike habitat. Al meer boere beweeg deesdae weg van die veldvernietigende bok- en skaapboerdery na volhoubare wildboerdery.


By enabling poor people to propagate and grow our incredible carbon-reducing spekboom tree, we’re doing our part to tackle these tough issues.

As with most trees, spekboom absorb carbon from the air to make plant tissue. Unlike most trees, however, is the degree to which this little plant can reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere – studies show that one hectare of spekboom plants can remove up to 4.2 tonnes of CO2 per year and that spekboom is about 10 times more effective at reducing carbon than tropical rainforest trees. It’s even 100 times more effective than a pine tree of the same size!


As boere dit gebruik – laat weet ons gerus.

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