Peter. Spekboom has a non-invasive root system making it ideal for pots and containers. Will the spekboom survive in Secunda? drought-stricken areas. If our region is not adapted to olives, oranges, almonds, papayas, bananas etc., why would we hesitate to choose other already existing fruits from other climatic zones? Previous. I am convinced that Portulacaria afra is a great species for combating of desertification and poverty in all the drylands. 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. (Highveld – cold winters, moderate summers with the world’s largest single point emitter of CO2) There is even a ‘prostrate’ variety of the spekboom, developing its branches not higher than 15 cm above the soil and forming a dense ground cover. As Clark mentions below, in our experience you can plant at any time of year. Spekboom is known for its incredible carbon-storing capabilities and ; many health benefits. The initiative has already begun, with the first spekboom plant taking root at Schalk Burger & Sons’ winery in Wellington. I bought my first two spekboms today. View all posts by Willem Van Cotthem. Do we need to fear invasive crops? Spekboom is a drought resistant shrub, which can grow into a small tree of up to 4m in height. I’m passionate about conservation because we only have one earth. I became interested in it when looking at ways to compensate for my carbon footprint. He said that the one species was from the Addo Elephant park area and the other from the Waterberg. It can take root and regrow, just from simple cuttings from existing trees. The slightly acidic, lemony taste reminded me of that of spinach or purslane (Portulaca oleracea L.). Too expensive? After tasting a couple of leaves myself, I agree that more research work in this field could reveal some interesting potentialities of spekboom leaves to become a valuable part of the fresh food (vitamins and mineral elements). As part of Samara’s collaborative conservation initiative, the reserve has launched a Spekboom planting project that anyone can get involved with. Indigenous spekboom, also known as elephants food, is a popular container plant. At Opus, we have been making moss balls by hand since 2011. 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”. Samara’s volunteers, staff and guests take part in this planting project as a means of offsetting their carbon debts. Hi. Hi, I absolutely love this tree. Also known as Pork Bush or Elephant’s Food, this indigenous evergreen is an environmental miracle worker, with the potential to tackle carbon emissions like no other plant can. A simple aeroponic system you can build at home. – Follow these 5 simple steps when you receive your plant –. Another benefit of the Spekboom is being edible. Great and well contsructed post. This is an established three year old dry root. Thriving in poor soils, it tolerates both drought and frost. The good news is that we can eat it too. 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. We all have to join hands for the sake of our coming generations. Its amazing ability to soak up CO2 (a great potential for carbon sequestration) is another interesting quality for carbon trading. 2010-05 - Cuttings of Portulacaria afra (Photo WVC), Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). The plant root system constitutes the major part of the plant body, both in terms of function and bulk. The word “afra” is in reference to the fact that the plant occurs in Africa. […] to, these are the five things you probably didn’t know about the Spekboom […], Thank you for what you are doing and my own Spekboom. R 450.00. Also known as ‘Elephant’s Food’ or ‘Spekboom’, it is indigenous to southern Africa. 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. Contact number 079 036 8226 For a tree to grow healthy and strong it need the necessary conditions and care. Q: is there a way to get Spekboom seeds? This tree normally attains a height of 1.5 – 2m in a garden setting and has a small non-invasive root system which makes it ideal for poolside planting. No… don’t share the scaremongery and dogma… you ruin a perfectly cool post with that bull! Pruning of the upper parts stimulates outgrowth of lateral branches and thus thickening of the hedge. 2010-05 - Root development of the spekboom in plastic bottles (Photo WVC) You plant today and they live 200 years. 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. It will grow in small pots, shallow containers, or even hanging baskets. I will be buying my first spekboom plant today!! Axe Men Tree Feller offers affordable gardening and tree pruning services in South Africa, people can contact us on 0815308164 or email us on for a price quote. 4. There’s no doubt about it, Spekboom (Portulacaria Afra) is a very special plant. […] […], […] Then, I read the article about Samara and if you join their mailing list, they will plant a Spekboom for you on your birthday on their farm! I have sent an email to Department of Environment and Conservation,;, and am hopeful that they will reply positively, enabling me to try and grow some Spekboom in Perth, WA.“, 2010-05 : Cuttings of Portulacaria afra are easily rooting in PET-bottles (container gardening) - (Photo WVC) I have 50 hectars of grassland and would like to get live back on this land. Under wet conditions, it uses the same system as rainforest plants and under dry conditions it switches to a system used by desert plants like cacti. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! Kokedama, often called poor man’s bonsai in Japan, literally means moss (koke) ball (dama). Yes indeed they do grow very easily and most guests sometimes leave with a plant to take to their homes. Dear all, many thanks for the informative blog. You can plant cuttings or even single leaves at any time of the year. Due to its multiple beneficial properties, Spekboom is a favoured plant for landscape restoration projects. The olive tree (Olea europaea) is a suitable addition to a Mediterranean garden or landscape, producing not only a tall and wide crown but also valuable fruit. Being a scientist myself, I have no hard feelings against enormous grants given to research work. How can Spekboom be used for conservation? 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. A safari for the soul. 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. 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. 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. Why would we hesitate to send all the seeds of the melons we consume to climate zones where they can grow? 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. A number of publications mention that its raw leaves have been and still are used in salads. 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. Would it become a noxious weed? Aldo, Is Spekboom available in the United States? Hi! And fighting climate change? 2010-05 - Cuttings of Portulacaria afra (Photo WVC) We live in Johannesburg and received two kinds of Spekboom from an avid Wildlife Photography expert. In May 2010, the first batch of Spekboom was planted on the reserve by a class of learners from Spandau Secondary School, Graaff-Reinet. Samara Private Game Reserve, Petersburg Road, off the R63 to Pearston, near Graaff-Reinet, Eastern Cape, 6280, South Africa. Being the favourite juicy food of elephants, ostriches and cattle, the leaves are eaten by humans too. The system is a component of the Kyoto Protocol. This makes it a powerful tool in the fight against climate change and the move towards a zero-carbon world. It is popular for bonsai, street planting, and for use at schools, office complexes, and in parks. Below you'll find detailed instructions on watering, light, potting and compost. Samara’s mission to actively restore its degraded landscapes has focused on the planting of Spekboom in previously overgrazed areas. This plant grows very easy from both, but single leaves takes more time to grow new leaves. Reservations: +27 (0) 31 262 0324 Some believe that experimenting with these models, or with genetic modification of existing food crops, ‘will save the time that would have been spent on field trials and help speed up the agricultural research cycle’ (see Jennifer OLSON in the article mentioned above). Absolutely. 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 is perfect for dry areas where it is an excellent fodder plant for stock and game and it has also been used to stabilize erosion dongas/ditches. Fortunately, it also grows well in a container, so you don’t need a huge garden to grow it. We do share these very special plants with friends and family in South Africa. Some local farmers restored areas to spekboom during the past 30 years, and scientists have sampled these sites to estimate directly the trajectory of carbon storage. COMMENT FROM PERTH, AUSTRALIA (Sandie ROACH), “Thank you for this  information Willem. No way, because the spiny prickly pear grows all over that part of the world. Root development of the spekboom on small cuttings. The difference is that an aeroponic system achieves this by misting the root zone with a nutrient solution constantly instead of … A good street tree does not have an invasive root system but rather a tap root. Another benefit of the Spekboom is being edible. Best time to transplant is harvest to spring time. 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. We’ll keep our eyes peeled for one and keep you updated. Where can I get spekbome to plant. Olive Tree Root Systems. And planting it in my little garden!! Long and heavy roots were immediately pruned short. * If you don’t join our mailing list you will not receive the birthday email and we will not be able to plant your Spekboom. ), spekbooms (Portulacaria afra), pitayas or dragonfruits (Hylocereus undatus), …. Samara Private Game Reserve is a luxury 5-star destination with a passionate conservation mission set within breathtaking wilderness. Lodge: +27 (0) 49 940 0059 Root pruning may only be necessary after two years. A lot of interesting information on the spekboom and many photos (
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