landscape of karoo mountains valley road bush

Spekboom: Bacon Bush

Karoo Ridge Conservancy Blog

South Africa has had many claims to fame recently. We have the world cup winning rugby team, we have Zozibini Tunzi, we have no electricity most of the time and we have an indigenous wonder plant called Spekboom.

Directly translating to bacon bush, Spekboom entered the limelight for its ability to sequester carbon. This species has the ability to capture four to ten tonnes of carbon per hectare – that’s ten times the amount sequestered by the Amazon rain forest, making Spekboom a major anti-global warming contestant. How you ask? Adaptation. Spekboom can alter its photosynthetic mechanisms to adapt to its surroundings. This means it can switch to transpiring at night – saving precious water resources during hot days or transpiring regularly during the day, depends on how it feels.

Spekboom can live up to 200 years! It responds well to pruning and can grow up to five metres tall in thick hedges, making it an awesome firebreak candidate, as it does not burn easily either. It has been used historically by the Khoisan to treat exhaustion and dehydration, regulate blood sugar and treat skin ailments and more recently, in boujee restaurants adding local trendy flavours to salads.

Spekboom has darling little pink flowers, grows like a weed and the ability to save the planet – WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? Purchase one today from your local plant nursery OR If you happen to be visiting Karoo Ridge Conservancy – we have begun our own Spekboom project, selling them in the curio shop to raise funds for our other conservation projects. Either way, they make fantastic, ecologically conscious Christmas gifts!