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Products > Aloe succotrina
Aloe succotrina - Table Mountain Aloe
Image of Aloe succotrina
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Succulent
Family: Aloeaceae (now Asphodeloideae)
Origin: South Africa (Africa)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Orange Red
Bloomtime: Fall/Winter
Synonyms: [A. perfoliata, A. purpurascens]
Height: 3-4 feet
Width: 4-6 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Seaside: Yes
Summer Dry: Yes
Deer Tolerant: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): No Irrigation required
Winter Hardiness: 20-25 F
Aloe succotrina (Table Mountain Aloe) A densely clustering aloe that can develop a short trunk but is mostly seen as acaulescent to 3 to 4 feet tall and spreading slowly outward. The 2-foot-wide dense rosettes hold many upcurved and then erect 18 inch long by 2 to 3 inch wide leaves that are a dull gray-green color with a few white spots an attractive white margins and teeth. Old leaves and leaf bases are often stained a purple color, which can be a diagnostic for identification of this species. In mid to late winter appear the unbranched 3-foot-long spikes of bright orange-red flowers subtended by nearly inch long purplish bracts.

Plant in full sun to light shade in a well-drained soil and irrigate very little as it is particularly well adapted to our California winter rainfall mediterranean climate with very little to no summer irrigation. Plants have proven cold hardy to 20 F at the Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek (see Brian Kemble's List of Cold Hardy Aloes) but if flowering at that time, the flowers can be damaged by colder temperatures. We however saw no damage to plants or emerging flowers during the January 2007 freeze with 3 nights down to 25 degrees F. It is also tolerant of near seaside conditions. This aloe is a very nice showy midsize aloe for the garden that is attractive both in and out of bloom and it grows well in containers too.

Aloe succotrina is native to the fynbos (like our chaparral) of Western Cape region where it grows on sheer cliff faces and other rocky areas from the slopes of Table Mountain to coastal rocks at Hermanus.

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. This species was one of the first aloes brought into cultivation; there is record of it flowering in Amsterdam in 1689, however when described in 1697 it was without noting its nativity and for this reason the origin of the specific epithet is particularly confusing. The most common reason given for this name is the possibility it was erroneously thought to be one of the aloes from Socotra that yields the drug socotrine, but another possibility is that it is from the root words 'succos' meaning sap and 'citrinus' meaning "lemon-yellow" in reference to the sap, which is at first yellow and turns purple upon drying. This aloe goes by several common names including Table Mountain Aloe, Bombay Aloe, Sabila, Socotrine Aloe and the Afrikaan names Bergaalwee or Bergaalwyn. 

This information about Aloe succotrina 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.