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Products > Aloe lolwensis
Aloe lolwensis - Lake Victoria Aloe
Image of Aloe lolwensis
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Succulent
Family: Aloeaceae (now Asphodeloideae)
Origin: Kenya (Africa)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Red & Yellow
Bloomtime: Summer
Height: 1-2 feet
Width: Clumping
Exposure: Full Sun
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 25-30 F
Aloe lolwensis (Lake Victoria Aloe) - Stemless rosette-forming plant to about 2 feet tall that suckers to form clumps with erect to slightly spreading glossy mid-green broad-based 20 inch long lanceolate leaves that have prominent brownish teeth well-spaced along the leaf margin - leaves flush a unique reddish-brown color in winter. The inflorescence, which appears in mid-summer, rises to 4 feet tall with several pale gray upright branches bearing upright gray-pink buds that reflex as they open with a coral-red tube, pale yellow petal lobes and yellow exerted stamens.

Plant in full sun in a well-drained soil and give regular to occasional irrigation. This plant is little known in cultivation, but the first plants grown in the San Francisco bay area withstood winter temperatures in the high 20's. It is from an equatorial area that receives low but year-round rainfall with little variation in seasonal temperatures and so it was with some skepticism that we thought this plant would do well in our cool wet-winter climate, but it has grown very well and flowered regularly in our own garden since first planting it in 2010.

Aloe lolwensis is found in grasslands in Kenya near Lake Victoria and on several islands (The type plant described from Rusinga Island) at 4000 to 5000 feet in elevation. It was only recently described by Len Newton in 2001 and was likely previously included with Aloe mubendiensis, from which it differs by having more numerous and longer, more glossy leaves and a taller inflorescence with coral-red flowers instead of the dark brick-red ofAloe mubendiensis, which we also grow. 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 epithet is in reference to Lake Victoria, locally called Nam Lolwe in the Luo language.

Our original stock plants from seed distributed by Brian Kemble and John Miller of the Institute of Aloe Studies in 2007 from a self-pollinated plant that John Miller grew from seed collected on Zenze Island in Lake Victoria by Anne and Gilfred Powys, explorers and ranchers in Kenya. 

This information about Aloe lolwensis 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.