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Products > Aloe eminens 'Koko Crater'
Aloe eminens 'Koko Crater' - Somali Tree Aloe
Image of Aloe eminens 'Koko Crater'
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Succulent
Family: Aloeaceae (now Asphodeloideae)
Origin: Somalia (Africa)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Red
Bloomtime: Fall/Winter
Synonyms: [Aloidendron eminens]
Height: 10-16 feet
Width: 6-8 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 30-32° F
May be Poisonous  (More Info): Yes
Aloe eminens 'Koko Crater' - A tree aloe that in the wild is noted as reaching to 45 feet but in the limited time it has been in cultivation has only been seen to reach less than 1/3 this height. It has an erect trunk that is irregularly branched with upright slender stems holding rosettes of 18 inch long narrow dull green slightly recurved leaves that are channeled on the upper surface and rounded below with all surfaces smooth and small white teeth along the leaf edge that reduce further towards the blunt leaf tip. This plant tends to flower in late fall and winter in southern California with a 1 foot tall, branched inflorescence holding 1 1/2 inch long deep rose colored flowers in tight 6 to 8 inch long racemes. The flowers are darker in bud and held at about 45 degrees in a downwards angle when opening with protruding yellow stamens and styles.

Plant in full sun in a well-drained soil and irrigate occasionally to very little once the plant is established. Hardy to 30°F. This rare tree aloe is an attractive plant for frost free gardens in California and is a must for those collecting tree aloes. Aloe eminens is often compared to the South African Tree Aloe Aloe barberae, which has paler flowers in an unbranched or lower branched raceme. It is also compared with the Mozambique Tree Aloe Aloe tongaensis, which typically has bright orange flowers, but Aloe eminens is actually thought to be more closely related to the Arabian species, Aloe sabaea, which has much wider and longer pendant leaves and a taller inflorescence bearing shorter paler orange flowers.

This plant is endemic to Somalia, where it grows on rocky limestone slopes and forested ravines in the northern area in the Al Madu Mountains near Erigavo from 4,200 to 7,000 feet in elevation. The species is assessed as Endangered and threatened by habitat loss. The description of this plant was made in 1958 by Gilbert Westacott Reynolds and Peter René Oscar Bally. The specific epithet, the Latin word for "outstanding", "lofty" or "rising above other things or places" was assigned for to this plant for its conspicuousness in its natural surroundings.

A picture of this plant graces the cover of the Spring 2014 issue of the CSSA newsletter To the Point" that includes an article by Brian Kemble, Ruth Bancroft Garden curator, about Koko Crater Botanical Garden in Oahu Hawaii, where the cover picture of this aloe was taken and where nearly all plants currently grown in California originated.

Plants of this species with this origin has been the subject of some controversy in aloe enthusiast circles as the original source for the plants at the Koko Crater Botanical Garden, a satellite garden of the Honolulu Botanic Gardens, is not well documented. Plants of Aloe eminens were sent to Paul Weissich, then curator of Honolulu Botanic Gardens, by the botanical explorer John Lavranos in 1973 but over time it seems that, if the plants were ever labeled or these labels were lost when the Koko Crater garden became overgrown. This led some to suggest plants from Koko Crater might not actually be Aloe eminens, but most doubters now seem convinced that these plants are in fact correctly Aloe eminens - suffice it to say that this is a very cool looking plant and that, until another source for Aloe eminens arises, this may be the only Aloe eminens available in California for some time. The photo on this page was taken in February 2007 of a specimen growing in the garden of Phil Favell, a founding member of the Institute of Aloe Studies, where we got our original stock plants to propagate from. 

This information about Aloe eminens 'Koko Crater' 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.