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Products > Aloe pluridens
Aloe pluridens - French Aloe
Image of Aloe pluridens
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Succulent
Family: Aloeaceae (now Asphodeloideae)
Origin: South Africa (Africa)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Salmon
Bloomtime: Winter
Height: 6-10 feet
Width: 4-6 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Seaside: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 25-30 F
May be Poisonous  (More Info): Yes
Aloe pluridens (French Aloe) - This is a tall attractive aloe that is known in habitat to occasionally reach 15 feet or more high but is usually seen in cultivation from 5 to 8 feet tall with multiple slender stems topped with spiraled rosettes of long narrow reddish, blushed bright chartreuse, leaves that recurve gracefully and have firm closely spaced small pale green to white teeth along the margins older leaves hang down and eventually fall off to show attractive bare stems. Trim up older leaves for a neater look and to expose the stems where occasionally small plantlets will form near the base. In late fall and winter from the top of the rosettes appear multiple (up to 3) branched inflorescences holding numerous spikes of salmon-orange flowers that dramatically rise 1 to 2 feet above the top of the plant.

Plant in full sun or in the shade along the coast and in part sun or shade in hot inland locations in a well-drained soil and irrigate occasionally. Cold hardy to about 28 F so protect from frost in colder locations. It is tolerant of near coastal conditions so it great along sea bluffs and is one of the few aloes that will bloom well in shady locations, even fairly deep shade. This is a very attractive and unusual shrubby aloe for the garden or for large containers and cut flower stems can last for up to three weeks in a vase. Its sap is noted as having the sharp acrid smell of rhubarb (some even suggest it smells like Cannabis).

This close relative of Aloe arborescens has a natural distribution along a wide area of the coast from the summer rainfall and frost free Eastern Cape to KwaZulu Natal in South Africa, where it often grows with heads of foliage popping out through dense foliage of lower growing shrubs. It was first described in 1824 by English botanist Adrian H. Haworth (1767-1833) from a plant collected by a Mr. Bowie at a location east of the Bushmans River near Albany.

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 and the specific epithet comes from the Latin words 'pluri' meaning "many" and 'dens' meaning "teeth" in reference to the many teeth along the leaf margins. The common name "French Aloe" is perplexing, though Gilbert W. Reynolds in The Aloes of South Africa noted that this common name came from its use in the Transkei Region, an unrecognized state in the southeastern region of South Africa that was called the Republic of Transkei from 1976 to 1994 but was later reintegrated into the Eastern Cape province. In South Africa it has also been known by the common names Fransaalwyn and Garaa. The roots contain a toxin called Pluridone that has been investigated for use as a natural insecticide we know of no reports indicating that this plant has poisoned people or pets but suggest not using it topically or eating roots or any other part of this plant. 

This information about Aloe pluridens 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.