Spekboom – Botanical name: Portulacaria afra
Spekboom is a favorite and popular succulent plant/tree in South Africa. Most South Africans have heard about Spekboom in one form or another
Spekboom is an extremely easy plant to grow. They are beautiful yet extremely tough plants.
Spekboom is an extremely versatile plant as you can use them as a thick evergreen hedge, can be trimmed as a medium-sized ground cover and can be grown as an independent large bush.
Brillant fact about Spekboom is that during pre-colonial times, in the area around the Addo Elephant National Park in the Eastern Cape, there were groves of ancient spekboom, said to have been so dense and large that the native peoples could walk on the “treetops” of these ancient spekboom plants.
Benefits of growing Spekboom:
- Easy to Grow
- Extremely Drought Tolerant
- Brilliant carbon sequester
- Incredibly adaptable to most climates
- Many uses in the garden
- Edible leaves – can be used in salads – the native peoples used to suck on the leaves to aid in dehydration and exhaustion
- Can be grown as an indoor plant in brightly lit areas of the home or office
Growth Habits :
- Soft wooded,
- Semi-evergreen upright shrub/tree
- 2.5 to 4.5 metres
- Low water usage – Waterwise
The leaves of the spekboom change acidity within the day. During the evening the acidy levels drops, thus the evenings are the best time to harvest fresh spekboom leaves from your tree.
Sucking the leaves are an effective method to quench your thirst as well as aiding in exhaustion and, dehydration
Crushed leaves can be used for blister relief.
Chewing leaves can treat a sore throat and mouth infections.
Juicing the leaves can be used as an antiseptic and thus will soothe skin ailments such as pimples, rashes, insect stings, and sunburn.
Breastfeeding mothers can eat spekboom leaves which will increase their milk production.
Where can I get Spekboom plants?