Portulacaria afra Jacq.

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Common names: Dwarf jade plant (English) Elephant's food (English) Spekboom (Afrikaans)
Description: Densely branched shrub, 2-4 m tall. Leaves broadly ovate, glossy, succulent, 1-2.5 cm long. Flowers pink or mauve, produced in profusion, c. 2 mm long, borne in fascicles on a short axis, 3-7 cm long. Fruit ellipsoid, winged.
Notes: Very similar, in leaf, and often planted with, Crassula ovata. It differs in having erect upper branches, less firm succulent and smaller leaves and often red stems which contrast with the green leaves. It flowers from Sep-Nov whereas C. ovata is winter-flowering (Apr-Aug).
Derivation of specific name: afra from Africa.
Flowering time:Sep-Nov
Worldwide distribution: Kenya, Mozambique, Eswatini and South Africa.
Growth form(s):
Insects associated with this species:
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Burrows, J.E., Burrows, S.M., Lötter, M.C. & Schmidt, E. (2018). Trees and Shrubs Mozambique Publishing Print Matters (Pty), Cape Town. Page 112. (Includes a picture).

Coates Palgrave, K. (revised and updated by Meg Coates Palgrave) (2002). Trees of Southern Africa 3rd edition. Struik, South Africa Page 201. (Includes a picture).

Other sources of information about Portulacaria afra:

Our websites:

Flora of Mozambique: Portulacaria afra
Flora of Mozambique: cultivated Portulacaria afra

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Portulacaria afra
African Plant Database: Portulacaria afra
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Portulacaria afra
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Portulacaria afra
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Portulacaria afra
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
iNaturalist: Portulacaria afra
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Portulacaria afra
JSTOR Plant Science: Portulacaria afra
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Portulacaria afra
Plants of the World Online: Portulacaria afra
Tropicos: Portulacaria afra
Wikipedia: Portulacaria afra

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2002-24

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2024). Flora of Zimbabwe: Cultivated Plants: Species information: Portulacaria afra.
https://www.zimbabweflora.co.zw/cult/species.php?species_id=166710, retrieved 20 May 2024

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