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Plant Database Search Results > Aloe africana
 
Aloe africana - Spiny Aloe
   

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Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Succulent
Family: Aloeaceae (Aloes)
Origin: South Africa (Africa)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Yellow & Orange
Bloomtime: Winter/Spring
Height: 6-8 feet
Width: 2-4 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 25-30 F
Aloe africana (Spiny Aloe) A solitary often unbranched small tree-like aloe usually up to 6 feet but sometimes taller with rosettes densely crowded with gracefully arching 2 foot long lance-shaped thick grayish blue-green leaves that have prominent sharp red teeth along the margins and in a row running along the middle of the lower surface with older leaves skirting the trunk. Flowering on this species can happen at other times but most often in mid-winter to early spring (January-March) with an un-branched to few-branched 2 to 3 foot inflorescence of erect long-tapering terminal spikes of flowers that are orange in bud and turni yellow just prior to opening from the bottom of the spike upwards. The individual flowers are held in a downward inclination but uniquely turn upwards towards the tips, making identification of this species quite easy. Plant is full sun in a well-drained soil and irrigate regularly to very little - though from a climate that gets little frost and more summer moisture within its natural range, it adapts well to our mediterranean summer dry climate with only infrequent summer irrigation and temperatures down to 25F - unharmed in our January 2007 freeze with 3 nights at 25F. This is a great plant that can be used as a focal point like a small tree aloe and underplanted with other succulents. Keep it back from the path as the teeth are sharp and catch clothing and cut the skin but in flower it is sensational and also very attractive to bees and hummingbirds. Aloe africana is native to the summer moist coastal Eastern Cape in South Africa where it grows within thickets of shrubs from sea level to nearly 1,000 feet in elevation. It was described in 1768 by the Scottish botanist Philip Miller, who was also the chief gardener at the Chelsea Physic Garden. It was grown in Europe prior to when many other aloes were described and before Linnaeus establishing the binominal classification system we currently use. The specific epithet that Miller gave it is simply in reference its African origins. The common name Uitenhage Aloe used in South Africa comes from a locality, the Uitenhage District, where this plant is plentiful. Our stock on this plant from the Institute of Aloe Studies.  This description is based on our research and observations of this plant as it grows in our nursery and our own landscape plantings and in other gardens that we visit. We also incorporate comments we receive from others and appreciate receiving feedback of any kind from those who have additional information about this plant, particularly if they disagree with what we have written or if they have additional cultural tips that would aid others in growing Aloe africana
 
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