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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A genus of plants of the order Portulaceæ, having two short sepals, four or five longer petals, and from four to seven stamens, unlike any other member of its family in its single ovule, and also in its winged fruit. The only species, P. Afra, is a smooth South African shrub, with fleshy and obovate opposite leaves, and small rose-colored flowers clustered in the upper axils, or forming a leafy panicle, followed by three-winged capsules which do not split open when ripe. It is the spek-boom of the Cape colonists, and affords in many places the principal food of the elephant, besides giving by its pale-green foliage a characteristic aspect to the country. Also called
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