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When I grew up, this was known as elephant’s food. Now it is helping to save our Earth. Portulacaria afra is a carbon sponge, which can absorb between 4 to 10 tonnes of carbon per hectare grown, and the South African government are planting 1 million hectares to restore exhausted soil and the environment.

The small round leaves have a crisp, juicy, sour, almost salty taste, and trendy South African restaurants add it to salads and casseroles for an indigenous tangy twist. Traditionally, it is sucked to relieve sore throat and mouth ulcers. It can be rubbed on insect stings and blisters, but perhaps its principal health benefit is that it can be eaten to relieve heatstroke, dehydration and exhaustion. It is for this reason that elephants enjoy eating it in the semi-arid South African environment. I keep a plant in my home, to raise the oxygen levels because… why not?