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Products > Aloe volkensii ssp. multicaulis
 
Aloe volkensii ssp. multicaulis
   
Image of Aloe volkensii ssp. multicaulis
 
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]
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. multicaulis - A moderately fast growing erect shrub 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 develops offsets that become branches near the base. 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 half long deep red flowers that are green tipped and erect in bud, then pendulous and turning nearly entirely red as they open in 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 the type subspecies, Aloe volkensii ssp. volkensii, has been reported to be cold hardy to short duration temperatures down to around 26 F with only some leaf damage. The species is an incredibly showy and interesting slender tree-like aloe and this subspecies is even more so. This plant should definitely be planted more often.

Aloe volkensii ssp. multicaulis occurs at a bit higher elevation and further to the east than the type subspecies, growing in southwestern Kenya, northwestern Tanzania, Rwanda and southeastern Uganda. 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. The subspecific epithet comes from the Latin words 'multi' meaning "many" and 'caulis' meaning "stem" in reference to the way this subspecies has many branches from the base and along the central trunk, unlike the more solitary stemmed subspecies volkensii. Other differences from the type subspecies include this plants teeth along the leaf margins being closer together and with larger more bicolored green and red flower buds that open a deeper red color with pale yellow tips.

Our plants of this beautiful aloe are all grown from seed provided to us by Tom Cole of Cold Springs Aloes in Montecito, California, who coauthored the book Aloes of Uganda. We also have a few larger specimens in the nursery of the type subspecies, Aloe volkensii ssp. volkensii , that were grown from cuttings of plants also from Tom Cole. 

This information about Aloe volkensii ssp. multicaulis 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.

 
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