The plants grow as evergreen and bare subshrubs or small trees and reach heights of up to 4 meters. They form a smooth, peeling bark. On the shoots, which are divided into segments, entire-margined and succulent leaves are arranged opposite to one another.
Many small, hermaphrodite flowers are formed on the terminal inflorescences. They are stalked and 1 to 10 pieces are in clusters. Two sepals are formed. The 4 to 5 petals are shaped like a hood. The flower contains 5 to 10 stamens , the pollen are tricolated. The upper permanent ovary is triangular and consists of 3 carpels with an ovule . The three-winged fruits are dry and do not open.
The chromosome number is 22.
The species of the genus are common in southern Africa .
The genre was established in 1787 by Nikolaus Joseph von Jacquin . The type species of the genus is Portulacaria afra Jacq.
The genus contains only two species.
- Portulacaria afra Jacq. : It is common in Mozambique , Swaziland and the eastern South African provinces of Eastern Cape , KwaZulu-Natal , Mpumalanga and Limpopo .
- Portulacaria armiana Van Jaarsv. : It only thrives on granite rock in Namibia and the South African province of Northern Cape .
Recently, however, the five species from the genus Ceraria H. Pearson & Stephens have also been produced here:
- Portulacaria carrissoana (Exell & Mendonça) Bruyns & Klak (Syn .: Ceraria carrissoana Exell & Mendonça )
- Portulacaria fruticulosa (H.Pearson & Stephens) Bruyns & Klak (Syn .: Ceraria fruticulosa H.Pearson & Stephens )
- Portulacaria longipedunculata (Merxm. & Podlech) Bruyns & Klak (Syn .: Ceraria longipedunculata Merxm. & Podlech )
- Portulacaria namaquensis Sond. (Syn .: Ceraria namaquensis (Sond.) H. Pearson & Stephens )
- Portulacaria pygmaea Pillans (Syn .: Ceraria pygmaea (Pillans) GDRowley )
- DG Rowley: Portulacaria . In: Urs Eggli (Hrsg.): Succulent lexicon . tape 2 : Dicotyledonous plants (dicotyledons). Ulmer, Stuttgart 2002, ISBN 3-8001-3915-4 , p. 453 .
- Collectanea Volume 1, 1787, p. 160 ( online )
- Rafaël Govaerts (ed.): Portulacaria. In: World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (WCSP) - The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew . Retrieved March 18, 2020.