Portulacaria afra
"Elephant Bush"

          From South Africa, Portulacaria afra is a succulent branching shrub or small tree to 12 feet tall in the wild. It's apparantly a favorite food of Elephants, hence the common name. Though the plain green form is available, the variegated form (above) is more popular in cultivation. It is also a favorite bonsai subject becuse it's easy to train and grows fast.
     Portulacaria afra is easy to grow in any good cacti and succulent mix. They are drought tolerant but will signal you by shrivelling and dropping leaves when they need water. They are easily propagated by stem cuttings.

All images and text are copyright 2005 to present, D.S. Franges, unless otherwise noted.