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Cacti, Succulents

Arabic Name

العقيق

Latin Name

Portulacaria afra , Portulacaceae

English Name

Elephant's Food, Porkbush

This popular succulent is native to scrub vegetation, thickets and dry riverbeds in eastern South Africa and Mozambique. The Porkbush is now planted around the world for its ability to survive certain extremes. It stands heat and drought even as a pot plant, and may be used as a bonsai. It is often seen on footpaths and in planters in Arriyadh. The Porkbush usually grows as an oval or round shrub some 2 metres high, but under favourable conditions it can reach double this size. Reddish-brown, fleshy stems are aligned with round, succulent foliage. In early spring, tiny flowers emerge in light pink. Porkbushes take severe pruning. In its homeland, they are occasionally browsed by elephants and quickly recover from the base. Clipping and pinching allow the plant to be grown in any sculptural shape desired, or as a hedge. It can be grouped or grown as a specimen plant in rock gardens and any arid landscape. Some cultivars have peculiar characteristics, such as ‘Aurea’ with its yellow-green foliage and ‘Foliis variegatis’ with ivory leaf edges. Interesting is ‘Limpopo’ with larger, ovate leaves up to 3 cm in length and 2 cm in width. The foliage is edible and somewhat sour in taste. It brings relief to sore throats and cure mouth infections, as well as insect stings and sunburns. Its deep roots and resistance to drought make this shrub an ideal soil stabiliser on slopes. Both full sun and semi-shade are accepted. Propagation is very simple by cuttings that should be allowed to dry before being placed in a mix of sand and compost.

General information

Family Name : Portulacaceae
Origin: Tropical
Rainfall: Semi Humid , Semi Arid , Very Arid
Propagation: Cuttings
Maintenance: Low

Environmental conditions

Urban Climate: Resistant
Desiccation: Resistant
Drought: Vulnerable
Irrigation: Low
Salinity: Moderate < 3,000 ppm
Hardiness Zones: 0°C

Plant shape

Height: From 1 To 4 M
Expansion: From 1 To 3 M
Foliage: Evergreen

Flower

Colour: Pink Light
Size: 12 CM
Flowering Period: From Early March Till Late May

Fruit

Type Of Fruit: Capsule
Size: 1.8 CM
Toxicity: Inedible

Location of Use :

Home Plant , Public Open Space , Pedestrian Precinct , Street Neighbour Planting , Rock Garden , Massed Planting , Container Planting , Park Planting , Private Garden , Extensive Roof Garden , Roof Garden , Hedge , Low Hedge , Urban Area , Edging Plants

Other choices :

Ground Cover , Grouped Planting , Plant Used by ADA , Medium Hedge , Attractive Shape , Dominant Plant

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