Capetonians and South Africans at large have taken up the Spekboom Challenge to make a change through planting the wonder plant and reducing carbon emissions with its powerful air cleansing benefits, but while the Spekboom Challenging is doing a lot of good there are also negatives to be aware of.

Recently residents and those with knowledge about Cape fynbos and the sensitive ecosystems they form have been taking to social media to warn people about planting Spekboom in areas where they do not belong.

Local botanist Elzanne Singels posted a picture of a spekboom cutting she had found planted in a lowland fynbos area where it would certainly do more harm than good.

“Pictured is a spekboom cutting, that was planted by a well intentioned Capetonian in one of the last remaining intact lowland fynbos habitats in Cape Town (lying on the Critically endangered Diastella proteoides). This is exactly what I had feared when the Spekboom challenge started being a thing that seems to have captivated the minds of so many South Africans. To be very clear: Spekboom is not indigenous to Cape Flats Sand Fynbos, it will colonize and become invasive in this habitat and threaten the already extremely threatened habitat and the endangered species that grow there,” said Singels in a Facebook post.

While the wonders of the spekboom cannot be overlooked it is very important that planters are aware of where they are planting it. The spekboom is originally found in a rocky area in the Eastern Cape and it is best to either plant them in your garden or in pots around your home.

Those who have joined the Spekboom Challenge are being urged to never plant it in natural or wild veld areas where it could do more harm than good.

“Plant spekboom in your garden by all means! Cook with it, propagate it and share among friends to grow in their gardens and homes, but spekboom should never be planted in natural veld without consulting a rehabilitation or restoration specialist,” adds Singels.

Also read: Spekboom Challenge aims to tackle climate change

Picture: Elzanne Singels


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