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Products > Aloe volkensii ssp. volkensii
Aloe volkensii ssp. volkensii
Image of Aloe volkensii ssp. volkensii
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Succulent
Family: Aloeaceae (now Asphodeloideae)
Origin: Africa, Sub-Saharan (Africa)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Red
Bloomtime: Winter
Synonyms: [Aloe volkensii ssp. volkensii]
Height: 20-30 feet
Width: 4-6 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 25-30 F
May be Poisonous  (More Info): Yes
Aloe volkensii ssp. volkensii - A moderately fast growing large bush or tree aloe that can grow to 10 to 20 feet or more in height with a trunk that becomes up to a foot thick with a stiffly erect stem that occasionally develops offsets that can become branches near the base, but is often more solitary. At the tips of the stems are rosettes of erect 2-foot-long narrow gray-green leaves that become spreading and somewhat recurved with age. The leaves have teeth along their margins with brownish tips and the older dead leaves dry and lay down appressed flat along the stems. The leaves are a uniform gray-green color, though juvenile seedling plants have occasional pale spots, and the cut leaves have yellow sap that dries to red. In mid to late winter appear the inch and a quarter long deep orange-red flowers that are erect in bud and pendulous when open on compact subcapitate racemes in a well branched erect 2-foot-tall inflorescence that rises above the leaves.

Plant in full sun in a well-drained soil with occasional to infrequent irrigation in a near frost free location. This central African aloe is not common in cultivation and its ultimate frost and drought tolerance has yet to be determined, but it has been reported to be cold hardy to short duration temperatures down to around 26 F with only some leaf damage. This is an incredibly showy and interesting slender tree-like aloe that should be grown more.

Aloe volkensii ssp. volkensii occurs from south-east Kenya and north-east Tanzania where it grows on steep rocky slopes, dry bushveld and dense riverine woodland from 30 feet in elevation to as high as around 6,000 feet in such places as the eastern slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro. 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 this plant's specific epithet honors the German botanist Georg Ludwig August Volkens (18551917), an explorer of the Kilimanjaro area and later curator of the Botanical Museum of Berlin. This plant has yet to have any English common name applied to it but has been called Mradune and Iratune in the Bantu dialect Chaga language.

We only have a few specimens of this beautiful plant in the nursery, all grown from cuttings of plants from Tom Cole of Cold Springs Aloes, and also grow the lower branching subspecies Aloe volkensii ssp. multicaulis that has and bicolored green and red flowers from seed provided to us by Tom Cole of Cold Spring Aloes. 

This information about Aloe volkensii ssp. volkensii 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.