Let’s bring you up to speed about this very special plant! Spekboom is 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.
Whether you’re a succulent fan or have yet to hear about this magnificent tree, here are 5 things you probably didn’t know about this “wonder” plant.
1. SPEKBOOM IS PROUDLY SOUTH AFRICAN: It is found predominantly in the Eastern Cape, and especially in the semi-arid Karoo region, where growing conditions are ideal for this resilient plant. It favours North-facing slopes where it is exposed to maximum sunlight. Thriving in poor soils, it tolerates both drought and frost.
2. SPEKBOOM IS ONE OF THE BEST CARBON SEQUESTRATORS IN THE WORLD: 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. One hectare of Spekboom can sequester between 4 and 10 tonnes of carbon per year. This makes it a powerful tool in the fight against climate change and the move towards a zero-carbon world.
3. SPEKBOOM CAN LIVE UP TO 200 YEARS: And Spekboom trees can grow as tall as 5 metres. 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. Spekboom propagates very easily, and a broken-off branch can quickly grow roots and create a whole new plant.
4. SPEKBOOM ARE EQUIPPED WITH A UNIQUE MECHANISM FOR ADAPTING TO THEIR SURROUNDINGS: In the wet, cool months, Spekboom photosynthesises like other plants, opening its stomata during the day to absorb carbon dioxide. 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.
5. SPEKBOOM IS EDIBLE, WITH A VERY HIGH NUTRITIONAL VALUE: It is a favoured food of black rhinos, elephants and kudus. The good news is that we can eat it too. With a slightly lemony taste, Spekboom leaves are juicy and full of moisture, making them the perfect ‘pick-me-up’ during a long day’s hiking in the arid Karoo. Popular Cape Town restaurants like the Pot Luck Club use this succulent as accents to their beautifully crafted dishes.
All you have to do is keep your till slip from purchases made during the month of September showing that you have spent over R150. On Friday, October 2nd and Saturday, October 3rd between 10h00 and 14h00 on both respective days, simply turn up at the Spekboom stand with your September till slip and one of these Spekboom plants will be yours, “FREE”, courtesy of Park Boulevard! Stocks will be limited & T’s & C’s will apply.
We could all do with this little exceptional plant to make a difference to our environment!