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Products > Aloe maculata
Aloe maculata - Soap Aloe

Note: This plant is not currently for sale. This is an archive page preserved for informational use.  
Image of Aloe maculata
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Succulent
Family: Aloeaceae (now Asphodeloideae)
Origin: South Africa (Africa)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Orange Red
Bloomtime: Spring/Summer
Synonyms: [A. saponaria]
Height: 1 foot
Width: 1-2 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Seaside: Yes
Summer Dry: Yes
Deer Tolerant: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 20-25 F
Aloe maculata (Soap Aloe) - A stemless plant that reaches to 12 to 18 inches tall by and equal width that can sucker freely or grow solitarily. The foliage is dark green at the tips with a reddish tinge and the basal half marked with by faint white dashes and spots and with margins lined with brown teeth. The salmon orange flowers are held in capitate heads on a branched inflorescence over a long period from late spring into summer.

Plant in full sun in a well-drained soil. It is drought tolerant and cold hardy to 20-25 degrees F. This plant has long been in cultivation in California with many hybrids occurring because of other species close proximity on of the most common is a Aloe striata hybrid that has flowers closer to Aloe striata but with leaves that have toothed margins.

The precise location of the type specimen of this species is unknown and its holotype that the Italian physician and botanist Carlo Allioni used in 1773 to describe this plant was an illustration (an iconotype) of a seed grown plants in Jan Commelin's 1701 Horti Medici Amstelodamensis Rariorum from the Amsterdam Botanic Garden (Hortus Medicus). It is a variable widespread and common plant in South Africa from the Cape Peninsula north and east through KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga where it occurs in grassland, scublands and rocky outcrops from sea level up into the mountains of the Drakensburg. The name Aloe comes from ancient Greek name aloe that was derived from the Arabian word 'alloch' that was used to describe the plant or its juice that was used as medicine. The specific name is from the Latin word 'maculate' meaning spotted. Previously this plant was called Aloe saponaria and this specific epithet is from the Latin word 'sapo' meaning "soap" and refers to the use of this plant for soap in its native South Africa. It has been suggested by some botanists that the long-used name, Aloe saponaria, be conserved as it is the name for the type plant in the Aloe genus section Saponariae.

We grew the typical orange flowering form of Aloe maculata from 1994 until 2009 but replaced it with other selections such as Aloe 'Rooikappie', Aloe maculata 'Yellow Form' and Aloe maculata 'Jack-O-Lantern'

This information about Aloe maculata displayed is based on research conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.