Plant-a-spek at Radloff Park

It may come as a surprise to many that the inconspicuous spekboom (also known as elephant bush, dwarf jade plant, or porkbush) is actually one of the most efficient plants at fighting air pollution. It has the ability to “sequester” or capture four to 10 tons of carbon per hectare, and absorb it back into plant matter. Excess carbon in the atmosphere is one of the main contributors to climate change – so the more we can remove from the air, the better!

Besides this little miracle plant’s ability to absorb carbon from the air, the spekboom also has other great qualities: it is edible and high in nutritional value, not only for humans, but also for elephants, kudu and black rhino. Spekboom is traditionally used to treat exhaustion and dehydration. The roots act to compact soil, preventing it from being washed away, and it also improves soil quality, and is used to restore previously overgrazed areas. Spekboom is water-wise and tough as nails, and this drought-resistant plant can survive on just 250mm to 350mm of water a year. Spekboom has a photosynthetic mechanism which allows it to adapt to all weather conditions, so it can survive extreme conditions and temperatures from an arid drought to frost. It is easy to plant: simply break off a branch and stick it into the ground where it would get a lot of sun. They can grow pretty dense, allowing them to be pruned into hedges. The spekboom, indigenous to the Eastern Cape, can live up to 200 years.Visit