The City’s recreation and parks department is taking part in the Spekboom Challenge, the social media drive to get each South African to plant at least 10 of the carbon-consuming succulents this year.
The Newlands Nursery is growing 5 000 spekboom to be distributed for planting during Climate Change Month in April.
“Our participation in the Spekboom Challenge will not only motivate communities to participate but will also be a catalyst in our drive to urban forest recognition,” said mayoral committee member for community services and health, Zahid Badroodien.
“The spekboom shoots will be planted at area-based events across the city on World Earth Day on April 22. We hope this will encourage residents to also get involved in tree planting and maintenance.”
In late 2019, the #Spekboom Challenge began on social media. Started by farmers in the Eastern Cape, it encouraged all South Africans to grow the spekboom to fight carbon emissions.
Also known as the pork bush or elephant’s foot, it can grow as tall as five metres and only requires 250 – 350ml of water a year to survive
Spekboom can live up to 200 years and has the ability to adapt to environmental changes. It can be planted to beautify a garden or open space, or act as windbreaks when planted in a lane.
It is also edible with very high nutritional value.
According to the South African National Biodiversity Institute fairly dense stands of spekboom can capture between 2 and 4 tons of carbon per hectare per year, meaning bush dominated by spekboom, is at least as effective at capturing carbon as tropical rainforests are.
The City’s Newlands nursery will be open to the public on Wednesday February 26, from 10am to noon. Visitors can join a tour of the facility and demonstrations will be given on how to grow your own spekboom. Share a photo of your newly planted spekboom on social media with the hashtag #Spekboomchallenge.