Aloe arborescensCandlelabra Aloe
The native distribution for Aloe arborescens is South Africa's Cape Province, north to Zimbabwe and Malawi. It flourishes on rocky outcrops and stony ridges or "krantz", an Afrikaans word. It was planted originally as security fences around "kraals" or livestock enclosures. Aloe arborescens adjusts itself easily to a variety of climates and soils far from its native home. Its unique silhouette, brilliant flowers, and habit of blooming in winter when there is often little color, likely are the reasons it is the most planted aloe in the world.
Arborescens means tree-like, with this species of aloe reaching ten feet in height. Its multi-stems support rosette upon rosette of blue-green fleshy leaves with soft teeth running along their edges. Tall orange-red racemes of flowers, full of nectar, rise from the rosettes attracting butterflies, birds and bees.
The succulent leaves contain a pulp that is as effective medicinally as that found in the other more well known species, Aloe vera. The pulp is known to soothe the skin, especially from burning and redness, and has many other uses.
||A sunny spot with well drained soil or sand
||Tall colorful inflorescence spikes ranging from orange to red and yellow
||Works well as an accent or ornamental plant, as well as a hedge
||The family in which Aloe is placed has changed many times due to the reults of molecular DNA studies; It has been placed in the Aloeaceae, Liliaceae, and the Asphodelaceae prior to its current family, Xanthorrhoeaceae
In South Africa the flowers are attractive to many kinds of birds, particularly sunbirds.
Aloe arborescens is located in the South Africa Garden (Beds 27A & D),
Succulent Garden (Beds 50B, C, D, & E) and the Garden of Fragrance (Bed 11D).
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IN BLOOM CONTRIBUTORS:
Photos by Docent Joanne Taylor; text by Docent Kathy McNeil; profile by Associate Curator David Kruse-Pickler