Portulacaria afra, commonly known as porkbush, is a vigorous shrub or small tree with soft stems (SA Tree List No. 104). Branching begins at the base and continues further up; some branches may sprawl while stout, erect stems may exceed 4 m in height.
On young stems the bark is green, turning red-brown, later sometimes grey and smooth with leaf scars. This specimen was seen in April in Baviaanskloof.
Other Portulacaria species don’t reach tree proportions.
P. afra is not considered threatened in habitat early in the twenty first century. Its prevalence is enhanced in cultivation by some newly found popularity, but diminished in the veld where overgrazing is not in check (Coates Palgrave, 2002; Vlok and Schutte-Vlok, 2010; Smith and Crouch, 2009; www.plantzafrica.com).