Elephant Bush Overview
Portulacaria afra is an attractive and robust succulent shrub species that is grown around the globe and is often used ornamentally as a house plant, pruned to resemble a bonsai. It has small round succulent leaves and red stems that can survive arid conditions. When grown as a houseplant, it likes more water than most succulents, but should still be allowed to dry out thoroughly between watering. In southern Africa, Portulacaria afra is known by the names Elephant Bush and Elephant Food and is used by people for culinary and medicinal purposes. Spekboom is also a popular common name for this plant and in some places it is well known as Dwarf Jade Plant for its resemblance to the Jade Plant species, Crassula ovata. What makes this plant so unique is that it's not only directly useful for both humans and animals, but also for promoting a healthier environment by preventing soil erosion and acting as an excellent carbon sponge.