Regards Cheryl. And planting it in my little garden!! “The Spekboom is one of the most efficient plants for fighting climate change. Take your plant out of the box and identify a sunny spot for it to live. the Karoo, it is growing in extravagant abundance in thickets all over the hills in the Eastern Cape region. Therefore, highly estimated institutions provide extremely important research grants to encourage such ‘innovative solutions’. In addition to my article published in March 2010: AFRICA: Finding the food crops of the future, (see a former posting on this desertification blog and Aldo, Is Spekboom available in the United States? If you cannot get hold of my brother call me on 083 7081799 I will be buying my first spekboom plant today!! It quoted the Spekboom Foundation of South Africa as saying that that spekboom is “10 times more effective per hectare at carbon fixing than any tropical rainforest”. Since then, Samara has worked with the University of Stellenbosch and other scientists to develop a Spekboom conservation model that ensures the highest rate of success and plant survival. Another friend told us… Read more ». Great and well contsructed post. There’s no doubt about it, Spekboom (Portulacaria Afra) is a very special plant. Due to its multiple beneficial properties, Spekboom is a favoured plant for landscape restoration projects. Lodge: +27 (0) 49 940 0059 Thriving in poor soils, it tolerates both drought and frost. While I don’t usually recommend projects I have no personal experience of I am making an exception for this one, which I came across while browsing the internet. We live in Johannesburg and received two kinds of Spekboom from an avid Wildlife Photography expert. As Clark mentions below, in our experience you can plant at any time of year. This makes it a powerful tool in the fight against climate change and the move towards a zero-carbon world. not via seeds) would occur in a natural system. Great question Carrina! Best regards and thanks. Models are already used and still perfected. The benefits are multiple – better-quality soil, ideal conditions for the growth of grasses and other plants, forage for wildlife, and of course climate change mitigation. View Samara on Google Maps or on what3words.com – our 3 word address is ///rosters.plots.famous. I don’t get this! Leaf cuttings will develop more slowly, but can also be tracked by eye as small leaves and roots emerge from the cut end. I leave that discussion open for now, trusting in the fact that if the Brazilians in their ‘Nord-Este Province’ have enormous plantations of the spineless prickly pear cactus (Opuntia ficus-indica) with edible fruits and green disks that can be used as fodder, etc. Where can I get spekbome to plant. Waterings: It is extremely drought tolerant; A deep soaking once a month in the summer will keep the plant looking good. Root development of the spekboom on small cuttings Its root system develops extremely well on poor, rocky or sandy slopes, thus preventing soil erosion. Nutritional value: Magnesium, manganese, cobalt, iodine, selenium. Spekboom propagates very easily, and a broken-off branch can quickly grow roots and create a whole new plant. This popular succulent plant is found on rocky slopes in the Karoo scrub and semi-arid landscapes in the eastern parts of South Africa. Q: is there a way to get Spekboom seeds? One such programme is located in the Eastern Cape’s Great Karoo at Samara Private Game Reserve. At Opus, we have been making moss balls by hand since 2011. […] Samara Private Game Reserve aspires to rehabilitate the Great Karoo landscape. For instance in Durban? It is highly efficient carbon sequestrator, storing carbon in its root system. It can take root and regrow, just from simple cuttings from existing trees. Or can we use existing climate-resilient crops in a ‘new’ environment created by the impact of climatic changes on the existing vegetation? Portulacaria afr… Hi, I absolutely love this tree. studio and root pruned. Some local women eat the leaves to stimulate milk production. Fortunately, it also grows well in a container, so you don’t need a huge garden to grow it. The word “afra” is in reference to the fact that the plant occurs in Africa. 2010-05 - Cuttings of Portulacaria afra (Photo WVC), Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Portulacaria Afra (Spekboom). I became interested in it when looking at ways to compensate for my carbon footprint. It will grow in small pots, shallow containers, or even hanging baskets. All you have to do is fill in the form below. Tiny, star-shaped pink flowers can appear … I would, however like to know when to transplant my Spekboom that is rootbound. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! Sequestering loads of CO2 AND having a food source sounds like a real win-win-win, If you know of anybody growing spekboom commercially in the USA please put me in contact with him / her / them. I am convinced that Portulacaria afra is a great species for combating of desertification and poverty in all the drylands. It is hardy and readily propagated. ), my good friends in the Sahelian countries or even in the Sahara desert would be bewildered if they could get a good opportunity to set up such plantations in their drylands. I found mine at Lowes hardware store in South Carolina. Johan Swart from the Spekboom Foundation told Africa Check that he had received this information from Dr Alastair Potts , a botanist at Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth. Previous. COMMENT FROM PERTH, AUSTRALIA (Sandie ROACH), “Thank you for this  information Willem. Prior to the advent of large-scale livestock farming, some areas of the Eastern Cape had Spekboom forests so thick that it was said a grown human could walk across the top as if walking on a carpet. In terrestrial plants, the root system is the subterranean or underground part of the plant body while the shoot is the aboveground part. And Spekboom trees can grow as tall as 5 metres. The Spekboom (Portulacaria afra) produces more oxygen than any other plant, so why not convert the carbon from your car into oxygen along your journey? But accepting that research work must go on, I can’t stop dreaming of extremely inexpensive research work to disperse ‘all good things’ that Mother Earth is offering us today. 2010-05 - Cuttings of Portulacaria afra (Photo WVC) Plant and leave a treasure for the next generation. Posted by Happy Scarecrow on February 7, 2020 at 1:04pm in Multiplied an eco warrior. they should. […] to Samara.co.za, these are the five things you probably didn’t know about the Spekboom […], Thank you for what you are doing and my own Spekboom. Its root system develops extremely well on poor, rocky or sandy slopes, thus preventing soil erosion. drought-stricken areas. Spekboom stores two-thirds of its carbon in soil and litter; both the living tissues and litter are highly fire-resistant. It does feel so good to be part of a carbon sequestration movement. Die Engelse naam vir die spekboom is die beskrywende Elephant’s Food (en nie Pork Bush soos die direkte vertaling uit Afrikaans verkeerdelik lui nie), want dit vorm tot 80% van die Oos-Kaapse olifante se dieet. It suffices to accept that under the new conditions these drought-resistant plants, having a high nutritional value for men or livestock, can be shipped as seeds from elsewhere to become the ‘new’ staple food. In the wet, cool months, Spekboom photosynthesises like other plants, opening its stomata during the day to absorb carbon dioxide. diabetes treatment. Contact number 079 036 8226 My collection and my knowledge of these incredible tolerant species has grown over the last 15 years. The one from the Addo Elephant Park is kind of wild and has a red/pink stem and the one from the Waterberg grows more dense and upright. This is an established three year old dry root. Its branches can be bent. Portulacaria afra (elephant's food, elephant bush, spekboom) thrives in warm, sunny climates.Unlike many other South African succulents, Portulacaria afra is fine with high humidity and rainfall (it grows well in Florida and Hawaii) as well as desert sun and heat. Spekboom was meant to be the ultimate symbol of sustainable development, a plant that could fix ecosystems and making farmers bucketloads … If we can’t grow maize (corn) anymore, but another, less water-consuming cereal, why should we stay hungry? The slightly acidic, lemony taste reminded me of that of spinach or purslane (Portulaca oleracea L.). The more birthday Spekbooms we can plant, the more successful the project will be. Big potential benefits from restoring spekboom thicket ecosystems in South Africa “Spekboom is an amazing plant. drought-resistant ones. Long and heavy roots were immediately pruned short. Fallen branches reroot quite easily. The plant root system constitutes the major part of the plant body, both in terms of function and bulk. lanstar@global.co.za. The carbon trading system allows heavily polluting businesses to buy carbon credits, while environmentally efficient businesses can sell surplus credits at a profit. Spekboom. I have one of these in my garden, but haven’t had the courage to try eating it yet. It is my most sincere conviction that Africans can be perfectly happy with food crops now growing in Asia or South-America and vice-versa. Portulacaria afra (Porkbush) or “Spekboom“ as we all know it , is one of my favourite specimens to work with. It favours North-facing slopes where it is exposed to maximum sunlight. Let someone explain first to us what would be an ‘invasive’ food crop. It is one of but a few plants that release oxygen during day and night and as Spekboom creates clean air – it is a fantastic indoor plant; It promotes soil binding flora, which helps prevent erosion. #GiraffeEyelas, The dynamics in Founders Pride have been interesti, Another species to add to our bird list! What makes a good street tree? I also believe that we should pay more attention (do some rather inexpensive research work) on opportunities to introduce Asian or South American food crops in the African drylands or the other way around. 200 years ago, this biome would have been home to impenetrable Spekboom thicket. Reservations: +27 (0) 31 262 0324 When soil is sparse, dry or extremely wet, shrubs and trees tend to root deeper. Absolutely. Olive Tree Root Systems. Yes indeed they do grow very easily and most guests sometimes leave with a plant to take to their homes. Root pruning may only be necessary after two years. Karen. E-mail me when people leave their comments – Stay updated on our news, specials and travel tips. It is popular for bonsai, street planting, and for use at schools, office complexes, and in parks. How on earth can you fight something that’s been ongoing for millions of years? Hi. Spekboom forests can serve as grazing and browsing areas of last resort for wildlife and livestock, even when all else has withered in a drought. Almost a month ago, my friend Johan Van de Ven of Bamboo Sur offered me some rooted cuttings of the spekboom, elephant bush or elephant’s food (Portulacaria afra), a fantastic plant species, native to South Africa, resisting extreme drought in dry, rocky places. Every time I am reading about the fantastic qualities of one or another plant species or a variety, I am dreaming about the possibility to use seeds or parts of that plant to improve the living conditions of all the people who don’t have the chance to profit from this exquisite species. I’d like to know about exporting Spekboom to other countries please? He said that the one species was from the Addo Elephant park area and the other from the Waterberg. It consists of a ball of soil around the plant’s root system which is covered in organic materials. as seeds. 3 year old plants left to extreme testing of only rain in the NW, and limited root space in trays. Perfection in a silhouette. But, it’s important to study all the roots, sometimes the upper roots are removed because the lower level root system … Let’s start at the roots. It is a hardy, succulent, soft-wooded bush (shrub or small tree) with brownish stout stems or trunks  (up to 4-5 m high in nature) and juicy, bright green leaves, shriveling when drying, but plumping up with some additional water. However, although spekboom can, and usually does, grow after such planting, it is a far cry from how such vegetative reproduction (i.e. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or click here to start planning your stay with us today. Click here to join the conversation. Hi Anne see you live in Noordhoek I live right on the coast 40 km from PortmElizaveth have you been successful in growing spekboom so close to the coast. Spekboom can be added to salads, soups or pickled. No way, because the spiny prickly pear grows all over that part of the world. A stem cutting may have a sufficient root system after four weeks, at which point you may water as infrequently as once a month. Invasive species? Hectare for hectare, in optimal conditions, Spekboom thicket can be as effective as the Amazon rainforest at removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere – quite a feat for a plant endemic to semi-arid areas. In the wet, cool months, Spekboom photosynthesises like other plants, opening its stomata during the day to absorb carbon dioxide. We’ll keep our eyes peeled for one and keep you updated. It can be seen in most of the botanical gardens because of its ease of culture. Not only is the plant indigenous, but its roots act to compact the soil, preventing it from being washed away. Thanks for sharing with us. Another benefit of the Spekboom is being edible. Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development. Next. And fighting climate change? They can survive extreme conditions and temperatures from an arid drought to frost, and are water-wise needing only 25 ml of water per year to survive. A safari for the soul. Consistently pinch back new leaves to keep the shape of the tree. South African saying: “As long as your spekboom is growing and prospering, so will your finances”. We only have to take the decision to spread the ‘goodies’ around, of course in a well-organized way, e.g. It's frost-tender, but unless severely damaged, will bounce back. I fully agree with Jennifer OLSON that ‘bioscience can improve crop resilience to climate change, or perhaps improve the shelf-life of a food product’, but I want to express my serious doubts about the necessity to spend millions of dollars on developing ‘new’ varieties of climate-resilient crops, when in nature one finds a considerable number of species and varieties of plant species that can successfully be introduced in regions or countries affected by climate change, e.g. The easiest way to do it is to get a cutting and place it in water until it begins to grow roots, and then to transplant into potting soil. Its root system develops extremely well on poor, rocky or sandy slopes, thus preventing soil erosion. The recen, Many of you have been asking about the fate of Chi, Nestled at the foot of an amphitheatre of mountain, Tis the season for new life across the veld, from, Quite possibly the best bar in the world. In some very dry parts of South Africa, e.g. In our own country, which would be the food crops of the future? Hi we have added small potted plants to each of our bed and bathrooms in our guesthouse to assist with freshness inside. Samara’s mission to actively restore its degraded landscapes has focused on the planting of Spekboom in previously overgrazed areas. You plant today and they live 200 years. Anyway, in regions affected by severe droughts it is better to grow such a truly invaluable evergreen plant, resisting to bush fires, than all those rubbish, but readily accepted ‘exotic ornamentals’ of which some are invasive too. It has several very valuable qualities. the plant root system distinguished from the shoot, its functions. Also sometimes called elephant food or elephant plant; dwarf jade, miniature jade or small leaf jade (but not related to jade plant, Crassula ovata); porkbush; or spekboom (in Afrikaans) or other common names in Africa, it is found on rocky outcrops and slopes from the Little Karoo in the Western Cape to the Eastern Cape northwards into KwaZulu-Natal, Swaziland, Mpumalanga and the Limpopo … During drier times, the plant has the ability to open its stomata at night in order to prevent water loss during the heat of the day. I am dedicating a special part of this text and some photos to the ‘spekboom’ or ‘elephant bush’, also called ‘elephant’s food’ and ‘porkbush’ (Portulacaria afra Jacq.). Portulacaria afra “Elephant Bush,” “Elephant Food,” “Dwarf Jade” Portulacaria afra “Elephant Bush” is a large, bushing succulent with woody stems that can grow to incredible heights when given the proper time, nutrients, and growing conditions. 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