a monograph which contains some of the areas of
both knowledge and ignorance pertaining to this plant "
© 1999-2018 by Robert J. Baran
Bonsai Magazine, Bonsai Clubs International, September 1973, Vol. XII, No. 7, pg. 9 b&w photo A small and medium jade grown from cuttings received 5 years earlier via airmail by Leon M. Pfeifer of New York.
Wu, Yee-Sun Man Lung Artistic Pot Plants ; Hong Kong: Wing-lung Bank Ltd.; June 1974. Enlarged second edition. Color photo #242 on pg. 257 shows a 61 cm tall specimen with thin surface roots in a short brown hexagonal pot on a carved black lacquered stand. The caption describes the plant as "Crassula obliqua (Crassulaceae)," but to this researcher the plant is really a P. afra.
Bonsai Magazine, BCI, December 1975, Vol. XIV, No. 10, Cover, color photo. Article on pp. 301-302. Given as 22" tall, informal upright potted in glazed dark blue container. The tree had been in training for ten years after being in a nursery where its 8 gallon nursery can had rusted away and the plant was covering a 25 sq. ft. area. Artist: James J. Smith. Plant was shown in Miami, FL at the "New Bonsai Horizons" Exhibition in July 1975.
Bonsai Magazine, BCI, February 1976. Vol. XV, No. 1, Cover, b&w photo of same tree as Dec. 1975. Caption on page 6.
Bonsai Magazine, BCI, January/February 1980. Vol. XIX, No. 1, pg. 21. B&w photo of eight yr old, three in training with 18" spread, 24" high, 12/4" [sic] trunk diameter. The tree is grown completely indoors. Owned and photographed by Kenny Popp, President of Louisville BOnsai C.
Bonsai Magazine, BCI, April 1980. Vol. XIX, No. 3, pg. 103. B&w photo of 23 in tall slant-style in an 11 inch brown glazed pot. In training for one year, owned by Kenneth Popp. B&w photo sent in by Lee Squires.
Bonsai Magazine, BCI, September 1980, Vol. XIX, No. 7, three b&w photos on pg. 226 with the folowing captions: "A Jade Plant cutting sent to Bob Burgess of Surrey, England in 1970 by Horace & Connie Hinds." "A closer look at the trunk." "The 'cutting' as it looked in 1978. Bob stated that there has [sic] been several hundred cuttings taken from this one and they are quite popular in his area."
Bonsai Magazine, BCI, May 1983, Vol. XXII, No. 4, Cover, b&w photo of 8" mame size in a small Japanese container. The plant was in this pot for seven years. Photo provided by Mrs. Nikunj S. Parekh, Bombay, India. Caption on page 112.
Parekh, Jyoti and Nikunj Parekh Wonderworld of Tropical Bonsai ; Bombay: Vakils, Feffer & Simons Ltd.; 1984, 1987. Cover is a color photo of a cascade specimen.
Bonsai Magazine, BCI, July/Aug 1986. Vol. XXV, No. 4, pg. 16. B&w photo from Houston Bonsai Society show. Described as "elephant plant."
Clark, Randy Outstanding American Bonsai ; Portland, OR: Timber Press; 1989. Bonsai #48 (color photo by Peter Voynovich) on pg. 121 is an "Elephant Bush." This wired 17" cascade was in training at the time for 4 of its 7 years by Ruth H. Delaney, MN.
World Tropical Bonsai Forum, Winter 1991. Color cover.
Bonsai Magazine, BCI, May/June 1991. Vol. XXX No. 3, pg. 10. Top right, small color photo captioned "Dwarf Jade Portulacaria afra by James J. Smith of Vero Beach, FL." In the article "Succulents As Bonsai" by Jerry Kossler (pp. 9-10).
Bonsai Magazine, BCI, Sept/Oct 1993. Vol. XXXII, No. 5, pg. 32. Bottom left, a small color photo of a specimen shown at WBFF '93. Given as 24" high, 28" wide, informal upright, artist: James J. Smith, Florida. This does not appear to be the same tree as on Dec. 1975 cover, but probably is the same as May/June 1991.
Bonsai Journal, American Bonsai Society, Winter 1994, Vol. 28, No. 4. Cover, color. Caption on page 131 reads "Elephant Bush, Portulacaria afra. This tree was propagated from a large cutting taken around 1985, and grown in an oversized nursery container for about three years. In 1988, the artist, Jim Smith, pruned it back drastically and styled it as a multi-trunk bonsai. The rock on which it is planted is a native limestone rock colected from a road construction. It is presently housed in the Pacific Rim Collection in Washington State."
Bonsai Journal, ABS, Fall 1999, Vol. 33, No. 3, pg. 115. Bottom right, a
quarter page color photo. Caption reads "'Elephant's Food' (
) trained in the double-trunk style by Doug and Gail Acker of the Phoenix Bonsai Society.
The tree measures 25" in height, is ten years old, and has been in training
six years. This tree was given the President's Award by Bonsai Clubs
International, and was selected at the [ABS '99] symposium exhibition by
BCI past president Mary Bloomer and Chase Rosade, in Solita Rosade's absence.
(Photo by Hector Espinosa)"
3/2003. Color cover. Caption at bottom of inside front
cover: "Bonsai of Portulacaria Afra Jade Tree : Age 8 years
training Ht : 35 cmc. Bonsai by Archana & Krishna Gupta"
Douthitt, Jack Bonsai -- The Art of Living Sculpture (NY: Rizzoli International Publications,
Inc.; 2001), pg. 105, color photo of root in rock specimen from Pacific Rim Bonsai Collection.
Coussins, Craig Bonsai Master Class (Devon, England: D&S Books Ltd.;
2006), pg. 105, color photo of forest on cover, plus seven other small color pics in Jim Smith's section on
"Species for warmer climates or inddor cultivation," pp. 194-196.
Grünwald, Ofer "'Altneuland' The story of bonsai in Israel, a kind of small revolution,"
Bonsai Focus, 147/124, 5/2013 Sept/Oct, pg. 19, color photo of twin-trunk P. afra next to Moshe Emergui.
The Playing For Change video, "What a Beautiful World" has a few quick scenes
with outdoor containerized P. afra (far left side) growing in the Los Angeles area at the 1:00, 1:06 (close up), 1:27, 1:33 (close up),
and 1:38 marks.
Additional biographical details for Jacquin from http://www.nhm-wien.ac.at/nhm/Mineral/Jacquine.htm.
Additional material courtesy of Prof. Gideon F. Smith, Director of Research, and his staff at the National Botanical Institute, Petoria, South Africa.
Alluaudia procera listing, Horticopia ® On-line Plant Information, http://www.horticopia.com/hortpix/html/pc425.htm
Animal Feed Resources Information System, http://www.fao.org/ag/AGA/AGAP/FRG/afris/Data/430.HTM
Bonsai Clubs International Species Guide, Portulacaria, http://www.bonsai-bci.com/species/portulacaria.html
Budding cut brought to RJB's attention by Paul Steele, who included a 3/4 scale image of a mame P. afra in his artwork on pg. 30 of our joint effort, The Bonsai Coloring Book (2005).
Elephant diet details per Graaff-Reinet web site, http://www.graaffreinet.co.za/plant3.html
Information and questions as to fossil and early forms sparked by reply to e-mail from Mike Pippenger at Truman State Univerity in Missouri, Oct 9, 2000, asking about such things.
Names in current use for extant plant genera, entry for Portulacaria Jacq., http://www.bgbm.fu-berlin.de/scripts/asp/IAPT/ncugentry.asp?name=Portulacaria
Portulacaria afra Jacq., National Botanical Institute, South Africa,
, accessed 04/16/04
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, SEPASAL project, http://www.rbgkew.org.uk/servlets/sepaweb
Taxa described by Jacq., Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada web site, Integrated Taxonomic Information System, http://sis.agr.gc.ca/pls/itisca . Accessed on 11/02/01, with a hard copy printed. Several attempts during 2003 to relocate this section using the site's search engine have failed.
Britannica Atlas ; Chicago et al: Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc.; 1982. Pp. 158-159, 220.
The Marshall Cavendish Illustrated Encyclopedia of Plants and Earth Sciences ; Bellmore, NY: Marshall Cavendish Corporation; 1988. Reference Edition Published 1990. Vol. 1, pp. 32-33, Vol. 4, pp. 424-425.
The Natural Gardening Association Dictionary of Horticulture ; New York: Viking; 1994. Produced by The Philip Lief Group, Inc. Published by the Penguin Group. Pp. 430-431.
The New York Botanical Garden Illustrated Encyclopedia of Horticulture ; NY: Garland Publishing, Inc.; 1981. Vol. 8, pp. 266-267. After the genus name states "One of the two species...is commonly cultivated." but only lists one species, afra.
Oxford English Dictionary, Second Edition ; Oxford: Clarendon Press; 1989. Vol. XVI, pg. 186.
"Shamwari -- bringing back the past," Getaway Magazine, February 1994,
Smithsonian Natural History ; New York: Dorling Kindersley Limited; 2010 First American Edition. Pp. 122, 124, 128, 165.
Some varieties can be seen at
Sunset Western Gardening Guide, pg. 544 of 2001 edition, pp. 425, 512 of 1979 edition, and pg. 380 of 1967 edition. Small black and green illustration of borderline identification value.
Taylor's Encyclopedia of Gardening ; Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company; 1961. Fourth Edition. Pp. 88, 859, 964-965, 1296.
Applequist, Wendy L. and Robert S. Wallace "Expanded circumscription of Didieraceae and its division into three subfamilies," Adansonia, sér. 3, 2003, 25(1): 13-16. http://cimbad.mnhn.fr/publication/adanson/a03n1a2.pdf
Bailey, L.H. Manual of Cultivated Plants ; NY: MacMillan Publishing Company; 1949. Revised edition. Pp. 364-365. After the genus name states "Two [sic] S. African fleshy shrubs or small trees...", but only lists one species, afra.
Branford, Jean A Dictionary of South African English ; Cape Town: Oxford University Press; 1980. New Enlarged Edition. Pg. 273.
Bredenkamp, G., Granger, J.E. & van Rooyen, N. 1996. Moist Sandy Highveld Grassland. In: Low, A.B. & Robelo, A.G. (eds) Vegetation of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland. Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Pretoria. Per http://www.ngo.grida.no/soesa/nsoer/Data/vegrsa/veg8.htm .
Brickell, Christopher (Ed.-in-chief) The American Horticultural Society Encyclopedia of Garden Plants; New York: Macmillan Publishing Company; 1989, 1992. Small color photo upper left pg. 121. Text pg. 542.
Brookes, John and Kenneth A. Beckett & Thomas H. Everett The Gardener's Index of Plants & Flowers ; New York: Collier Books, Macmillan Publishing Company; 1987. Pp. 102-103.
Brown, J.R. "The flowering of Portulacaria afra Jacq.," Cactus & Succulent Journal, Vol. XIX, 1947, pp. 140-141.
Bryant, Charles and Brita Lomba African trees:a photographic exploration; Juta and Company Ltd, 2004. Pg. 26.
Burtt-Davy, J. A manual of the flowering plants and ferns of the Transvaal, with Swaziland, South Africa ; London; 1926.
Chidamian, Claude The Book of Cacti and Other Succulents ; New York: The American Garden Guild and Doubleday & Company, Inc.; 1958. Pg. 131.
Court, Doreen Succulent flora of Southern Africa ; Rotterdam: A.A. Balkema; 1981. Pg. 109, which states the genus has two species, and gives the second as " P. pygmaea ( Ceraria pygmaea )." Also is the source of the flowering in Vienna note. Per pg. 50 of the CRC Press, 2000 Revised Edition of Court's book, the C.A Smith reference to the sour and sweet forms. That reference is apparently SMITH C.A. , 1966, Common Names of South African Plants, Botanical Survey Memoir No 35.
Coussins, Craig Bonsai Master Class ; Devon, England: D&S Books Ltd.; 2006. Cover color photograph of a Portulacaria forest, also shown on pg. 254, with other information by Jim Smith and eight smaller color photos on pp. 194-196.Cuénoud, Philippe, et al "Molecular phylogenetics of Caryophyllales based on nuclear 18S rDNA and plastid rbcL, atpB, and matK DNA sequences," American Journal of Botany ; 2002; 89:132-144. Per http://www.amjbot.org/cgi/content/full/89/1/132#F303
Dyer, R.A. " Portulacaria afra," The Flowering Plants of Africa ; 1978. 45: t. 1763.
Exell, A.W. and H. Wild (ed.) Flora Zambesiaca ; London: Published on behalf of the Governments of Portugal, The Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, and the United Kingdom by the Crown Agents for Oversea Governments and Administrations; 1960. Pg. 363.
Gillispie, Charles Coulston (editor-in-chief) Dictionary of Scientific Biography ; NY: Charles Scribner's Sons; 1980. Vol. 7, pp. 57-59. None of the book titles listed for Jacquin contain any obvious references to Africa.
Glavich, Tom "Succulents of the Month September 2002: Didieraceae, Alluaudia," Los Angeles Cactus and Succulent Society.
Glimin-Lacy, Janice and Peter B. Kaufman Botany Illustrated, Introduction to Plants, Major Groups, Flowering Plant Families ; NY: Van Nostrand Reinhold; 1984, pp. 4, 75.
Graf, Alfred Byrd Exotica 3: Pictorial Cyclopedia of Exotic Plants ; Rutherford, NJ: Roehrs Company; 1957, 1959, 1963. B&w photos of varieties "aurea" (in Carlsbad, CA), "variegata", and unnamed on pg. 1395. B&w photo of unnamed green variety in the Transvaal, pg. 1396. B&w drawing of inflorescense on pg. 1471. Text on pg. 1697.
Griffiths, Mark Index of Garden Plants ; Portland, OR: Timber Press; 1992, 1994. Pg. 925. Derived from The New Royal Horticultural Society Dictionary.
Hankey, Andrew and Walter Sisulu NBG "Portulacaria afra Jacq.," http://www.plantzafrica.com/plantnop/portulacarafra.htm.
Holttum, R.E. and Ivan Enoch Gardening in the Tropics ; Portland, OR: Timber Press, Inc. ©1991 Times Editions Ptc Ltd. Reprinted 1995, 1997, 1999. Per pp. 240-241: "In the last few years, this plant has appeared in Malaysia... Flowers are sometimes produced and these are small with pink petals."
Jacobsen, Hermann A Handbook of Succulent Plants ; Poole Dorset: Blandford Press; 1954. English language edition 1960. Vol. Two, pg. 745.
Jacobson, Arthur Lee "Plant of the Month: December 2008," http://www.arthurleej.com/p-o-m-Dec08.html.
Killick, D.J.B. (ed.) The Flowering Plants of Africa, Botanical Research Institute, Dept. of Agricultural Technical Services, 45:1763. With illustration of flowering branch and four close-ups of flower.
Lamb, Edgar and Brian M. The Illustrated Reference on Cacti & Other Succulents ; Poole Dorest: Blandford Press; 1971-1977. Second Edition 1971, Reprinted 1977. Vol. 3, pg. 830 w/b&w photo.
Lesniewicz, Paul Bonsai in Your Home ; NY: Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.; 1994. Color photo of root-over-rock style on title page, color of slant style on p. 154, and color of outer branch on p. 155 with care instruction text for " Portulacaria afra Elephant bush."
Long, Chris (compiler) "PORTULACACEAE" in "Swaziland's Flora - siSwati Names and Uses"
Lord, Ernest E. Shrubs And Trees for Australian Gardens ; Melbourne & Sydney: Lothian Publishing Co. Pty. Ltd.; 1970. Fourth Edition. Completely Revised 1964, Reprinted 1974 (Partial Revision 1970). Pg. 301.
Lust, John The Herb Book ; NY; Bantam Books; © 1974, Benedict Lust Publications. Pp. 501, 503, 505.
Martin, Margaret J. and Peter R. Chapman Succulents and their cultivation ; New York: Charles Scribner's Sons; 1977. First published in U.S.A. in 1978. Pg. 261 which states "The genus Portulacaria is monotypic, containing only P. afra... The minute flowers are pale green." [sic]
McGourtey, Frederick (editor) Handbook on Bonsai for Indoors ; Brooklyn, NY: Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Fourteenth printing, Jan. 1985. Pp. 49, 63.
Medley Wood, J. and Maurice S. Evans Natal Plants ; Durban: under the Auspices of the Natal Government and Durban Botanic Society; 1899. Vol. 1. Pp. 63-64. With five detailed line drawings of the flowers as Plate 78, "Drawn and described from specimens in flower on Berea, October, 1898."
Miller, Mary J. "Portulacaria afra, a succulent in tree form," Bonsai Today, No. 68, 2000-4, July-August 2000, pp. 39-44. With seven color photographs by Jim Smith. A very good article. This also is the first published reference to this web site monograph (which was discovered after most of the article was written). Note: much of the information in the article that pertains to use as bonsai and which is also on this site originated in the article.
Moran, Reid "Spekboom Blooms," Cactus & Succulent Journal, Vol. XLV, No. 1. January-February 1973. Pp. 71-73. With three wonderful close-up photos of the flowers.
Oakes, A.J. "Portulacaria afra Jacq. - a potential browse plant," Economic Botany, No. 27, pp. 413-416.
Palmer, Eve and Norah Pitman Trees of Southern Africa ; Cape Town: A.A. Balkema; 1972. Volume One. (First edition published in 1961) Pp. 85, 113, 121, 290, 567-569. B&w photos on pp. 124, 254 (thatched hut), and 566 (a large specimen in full and a close-up of its trunk).
Perry, Bob Landscape Plants for Western Regions ; Claremont, CA: Land Design Publishing; 1992. Pg. 251. Color Plates 823 and 824, the latter showing many flower clusters.
Pilbeam, John The Instant Guide to Healthy Succulents ; NY: Times Books, a division of Random House, Inc.; ©1984 Eurobook Limited. First American Edition. Originally published in Great Britain in 1984 as How to Care For Your Succulents by Peter Lowe, London. Pp. 70-71, with 4 color photos and drawings and two small b&w line drawings. The first page states that the flowers "are similar to groundsel, yellow and daisy-like."
Pitkin, Brian R. "Family NERIIDAE," Australasian/Oceanian Diptera Catalog -- Web Version, http://hbs.bishopmuseum.org/aocat/nerridae.html.
The Wonderful World of Succulents
; Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press; 1984. Translated
by Harvey L. Kendall. Pp. 133-134.
Rojas, Christine E. "Portulacaria afra, The Sensuous Succulent,"
World Tropical Bonsai Forum, Winter 1991, pp. 9-14. Photography by Carlos O. Rojas and James J. Smith, illustrations by Patrick Giacobbe.
Santiago, Steve "Vero Beach botanist donates 100 bonsai to Heathcote for new exhibit," TCPalm, January 5, 2011, photo by Eric Hasert.
Schmidt, Ernst and Mervyn Lötter, Warren McCleland Trees and shrubs of Mpumalanga and Kruger National Park ; Johannesburg: Jacana; 2002. Pg. 106.
Schoech, Wayne "A True Gentleman & A Very Large Tree," Bonsai Bark blog, 05/21/2012, with correction of "300 year old" specimen age in 05/21/12 post by Patrick Giacobbe, Bonsai curator for the James J. Smith Bonsai Gallery.
Shearing, David Karoo, South African Wild Flower Guide 6 ; Kirstenbosch, Claremont: Botanical Society of South Africa in association with National Botanical Institute; 1994. Pp. 68-69. Includes illustration of flowering branch by Katryn Van Heerden. Source of sweet eastern-northern and sour southerly-westerly aspects.
Sim, Thomas R. The Forests and Forest Flora of The Colony of the Cape of Good Hope ; Aberdeen, Scotland: under the Authority of the Government of the Cape of Good Hope; 1907. Pp. 133-134. With seven line drawings as Section II on Plate XIX.
Sonder, Otto Wilhelm Flora Capensis ; London: Lovell Reeve & Co.; 1862. Vol. 2. Pp. 385-386.
Trager, James The People's Chronology ; New York: Henry Holt and Company; 1992, 1994. Pp. 244, 340, 390.
USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN). [Online Database] National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland. Available: http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/taxon.pl?29459 (29 May 2001).
Van Wyk, Ben-Erik and Nigel Gericke People's Plants ; Pretoria: Briza Publications; 2000. Pg. 74.
Watt, John Mitchell and Maria Gerdina Breyer-Brandwijk The Medicinal and Poisonous Plants of Southern and Eastern Africa ; Edinburgh: E. & S. Livingstone Ltd; 1962. Pg. 869.
This WRA Species Report - Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk project has a nice summary of a wide range of info about this plant (with two citations to THIS article).
Also, a recipe for kudu, spekboom-fed or otherwise, was pointed out to RJB by Jeff Cammack in a personal e-mail 24 Mar 2009.
References Not Yet Checked include the following:
Applequist, W. L., Wallace, R. S. 1998. "Portulacaria afra ribosomal protein L16 (rpl16) gene, chloroplast gene encoding chloroplast protein, partial cds" Direct Submission (22-OCT-1998) Botany Department, Iowa State University, 353 Bessey Hall, Ames, IA 50011, USA.
Applequist, W. L., Wallace, R. S. 2001. "Phylogeny of the portulacaceous cohort based on ndhF sequence data." Syst. Bot. 26 (2), 406-419.
Aucamp, A.J., L.G. Howe, D.W.W.Q. Smith and J.O. Grunow. 1980. "Die invloed van ontblaring op Portulacaria afra." Proceedings of the Grassland Soc. of Southern Africa, 15:179-184. (In Afrikaans, with English summary.)
Huerta, Alfredo José 1987. Induction of Crassulacean acid metabolism in Portulacaria afra (L.) Jacq. (Portulacaceae) (Riverside: Publisher University of California, Riverside)
Ras, A.M. 1990. "Die
invloed van ontblaring en vog op die tanienen polifenolinhoud van Portulacaria afra".
J. of the Grassland Soc. of Southern Africa,
7:139-143. (In Afrikaans, with English summary.)
Guralnick, L.J., P.A. Rorabaugh, and Z. Hanscom, III. 1984. "Influence of photoperiod and leaf age on Crassulacean Acid Metabolism in Portulacaria afra (L.) Jacq." Plant Physiol. 75:454-457.
Guralnick, L.J., P.A. Rorabaugh, and Z. Hanscom, III.
shifts of photosynthesis in Portulacaria afra (L.) Jacq." Plant Physiol.
Guralnick, L.J. and I.P. Ting. 1986. "Seasonal response to drought and rewatering in Portulacaria afra (L.) Jacq." Oecologia 70:85-91.
Guralnick, L.J. and I.P. Ting. 1987. "Physiological changes in Portulacaria afra (L.) Jacq. during a summer drought and rewatering" Plant Physiol. 85:481-486.
Guralnick, L.J. and I.P. Ting. 1988. "Seasonal Patterns of water relations and enzyme activity of the facultative CAM plant Portulacaria afra (L.) Jacq." Plant, Cell & Environment 11:811-818.
Guralnick, L.J., G. Goldstein, R.L. Heath, and I.P. Ting.
""Fluorescence quenching in the varied photosynthetic modes of
Portulacaria afra (L.) Jacq."
Plant Physiol. 99:1309-1313.
[Citation per Caryophyllales: Evolution and Systematics, ed. by H.D. Behnke and T.J. Mabry, 1994, in which there may be other useful information about P. afra]
Lee, D.M. and S.M. Assmann. 1992. "Stomatal responses
to light in the facultative crassulacean acid metabolism species,
Ting, I.P. 1981. "Effects
of abscisic acid on CAM in Portulacaria afra," Photosynth Res. 2: 39-48.
Ting, I.P. and Z. Hanscom, III,
of Acid Metabolism in Portulacaria afra," Plant Physiol. 1977 Mar; 59(3): 511-514.
Zacharias, P J K and G C Stuart-Hill,
Proceedings of the First Valley Bushveld/Subtropical Thicket Symposium
(J Midgley; Special Publication 1991), whose Part IV, Spekboom
MiniSymposium, contains the following tantalizing topics:
at a time when Portulacaria afra was seemingly the only bonsai that would survive for me in the Phoenix area,
and was then first put on this web site in early July of 1999.
This page was last updated 20 January 2018.
If you have comments or thoughts concerning this, please e-mail me, email@example.com
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