Portulacaria afra

Portulacaria afra


Common Names

Porkbush (english)
Spekboom (afrikaans)
Tshilepwete (venda)
Isambilane (zulu)


Genus Portulacaria
Species afra
SA Plant Number 104
Basionym Portulacaria afra


Portulacaria afra is a hardy, evergreen, neatly shaped, small tree or shrub with pretty round, succulent leaves and ruby red branches.

The leaves have a pleasant acid flavour and can be used in salads.

From October to January, after rain, it is covered in clear pink to rosy mauve, nectar rich flowers - a wonderful sight. The papery 3-winged ornamental fruits resemble pinkish lanterns.

Plant in well-drained soil in sun or shade.

Useful for binding soil. It makes a lovely container plant and bonsai subject. Use it to create an attractive clipped hedge.

Attracts bees, which make a tasty honey from the nectar of the flowers. Makes an excellent fodder plant. You could call it our planets little helper as it is a ‘carbon sink’, one of the best trees for absorbing carbon from the atmosphere.

Size 3 to 5m


Pollinating Insects:

The flowers attract bees to the garden.



Limpopo, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu Natal,  Eastern Cape, Western CapeNatural Habitat:

Along rivers and streams, Dry rocky hillsides, Eastern Cape Thicket, Rugged Mountainsides, Succulent scrub



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