Aloes of Southern Africa
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Aloes are the flagship plants of Africa, vividly defining the landscapes in which they occur. In garden settings, these stately succulent plants capture the allure of the African savanna and serve as excellent focus plants around which other indigenous plants can be successfully grouped.
Aloes in Southern Africa explores the character and biology of African aloes, describing their habits, characteristic features and distribution in nature. It also details 58 aloe and related species across several vegetation zones. Aloe cultivation and propagation is discussed too, providing insight into optimum growing conditions, gardening styles and plants that flourish in different regions.
A feature on medicinal, cosmetic and culinary uses reveals the special properties of these intriguing plants. Whether you are starting a garden, redeveloping one or simply looking to expand your knowledge of these fascinating succulents, Aloes in Southern Africa will prove an invaluable guide.
should not visit them. The open flowers turn downwards, offering birds easy access to the nectar. Flowers of this form of Aloe cryptopoda are a uniform bright red colour. The small flying insect (circled) destroys the exterior of the flower base to gain access to the nectar, but does not assist pollination. Flower colour varies considerably among aloes. These flowers of the bulbous Aloe bulbicaulis, from Zambia, are a dull mustard yellow. In this species, the flowers, flower stalks and
seems unsure of what is expected of it when it comes to flowering sequence. Aloe parvibracteata flowers often have a conspicuous, nectar-filled basal swelling. Bees frequently visit Aloe marlothii flowers, possibly just to collect pollen rather than contribute to pollination. The fruits of Aloe marlothii are light brown, tinged with green. The irregular bumps on the fruit surface are a sure sign that the capsules have been parasitised. The spent flowers of Aloe porphyrostachys
time from August to February, when the night temperatures tend to remain above 10°C. Germinating aloe seeds For germinating aloe seed, a mixture containing equal parts of coarse river sand and sifted compost is suitable. The optional addition of some wood ash (sifted from the remains of the fire from your last braai) provides a useful source of essential trace elements. The size of the seedling tray is not critical, but if it is unlikely that the seedlings will be planted into individual
the developing roots, the seedling tray should be watered from underneath until the seedlings are firmly established. You can do this by standing the seedling tray in a shallow drip tray to which water has been added. After a few minutes, the soil in the seedling tray will be thoroughly soaked. Adding a water-soluble fungicide to the water will prevent the damping-off of the seedlings. The soil in the seedling tray should not be allowed to dry out completely: aloe seedlings thrive in moist, but
succulent leaves. The species are mostly small in stature; in fact, with the exception of H. maxima and a few species with snakelike, leafy stems, such as H. coarctata and H. viscosa, most species are less than 100 mm tall when not in flower. To date three subgenera have been recognized in the genus. The type subgenus, Haworthia, consists mostly of the so-called soft-leaved species, many of which have a decidedly blue-green leaf colour. Species of this subgenus have the largest, most beautiful