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Botanical Garden

Portulacaria afra - Elephant bush

Family Portulacaceae


About three species of Portulacaria are native to Africa. They are shrubs and trees. This species is a large shrub or small tree. Stems and leaves are succulent. Clusters of pink flowers are produced on plants in warm, dry climates in late winter.


See this plant in a protected location between buildings 15 and 832B.


Small shrub to about four feet tall or more in the garden, with wild plants reaching over fifteen feet tall.

Care Instructions:

Light: sun, part shade

Water: well-drained soil is crucial, especially in winter

Soil: adaptable to soil types, no other special requirements

Elephant bush must be near or at its northern limit in Jacksonville. Information varies greatly but one report says that it is cold hardy down to 25 degrees F. This plant was donated to the University by Jacksonville plant collector, Joyce Jarrell, to test its cold hardiness.