Aloe chortolirioides var. woolliana
Aloe chortolirioides var. woolliana

Photo

Linda Offler sntc.org.sz

Author

Ivan Latti

Aloe chortolirioides var. woolliana is a grass aloe occurring naturally in parts of the Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces. It tends to form clumps of rosettes through branching. The length of the flowers and the bigger leaves (than the usual very thin, grassy ones), indicate that this plant is A. chortolirioides var. woolliana. The normal flowering time is winter and spring.

The grass aloes tend to survive veld fires, a characteristic acquired through evolution and a very fortunate one today, given some people behaviour involving veld fires. Resprouting after fire means that the underground plant base survives.

Aloe chortolirioides var. woolliana clump
Aloe chortolirioides var. woolliana buds

Photo

K Braun sntc.org.sz

Author

Ivan Latti

The buds in the dense and short Aloe chortolirioides var. woolliana raceme have green, blunt, slightly upturned tips. Lower down they shade into dull grey and then pale pink.

The buds are neither quite cylindrical nor triangular in picture, tending to be flat on top with longitudinal ridges coinciding with the seams among the segments.

As the perianths lengthen, first the lowermost ones, they conceal the dry bracts that still protrude among the short buds at the top (Craib, 2005; Van Wyk and Smith, 2003; Reynolds, 1974; Jeppe, 1969; iNaturalist).

Aloe chortolirioides var. woolliana clump
Aloe chortolirioides var. woolliana clump

Photo

K Braun sntc.org.sz

Author

Ivan Latti

The somewhat woody Aloe chortolirioides var. woolliana stems branch around their middle parts, increasing the clump with age. Pollinators and hikers have no difficulty in spotting these bigger plants in flower among the dry winter grass (Craib, 2005; Van Wyk and Smith, 2003; Reynolds, 1974; Jeppe, 1969; iNaturalist).

Aloe chortolirioides var. woolliana clump
Aloe chortolirioides var. woolliana flowers

Photo

K Braun sntc.org.sz

Author

Ivan Latti

The flowers of Aloe chortolirioides var. woolliana grow in unbranched, head-like racemes up to 45 cm tall. This variety is more robust, growing taller than var. chortolirioides.

The peduncle is flattened low down, terete (cylindrical) higher up, bearing spaced, papery, sterile bracts below the inflorescence. There are about 18 flowers in the average raceme.

The perianth tubes are about 3,5 cm long, narrow, variably bulging in the centre and pendulous when open. Flower colour is red, but the occasional plant bears yellow, orange or pink flowers. The dark segment tips may become yellowish.

The anthers are exserted, the filaments pale yellow. The olive-green ovary is six-grooved. Flowering time is winter and spring (Craib, 2005; Van Wyk and Smith, 2003; Reynolds, 1974; Jeppe, 1969; iNaturalist).

Aloe chortolirioides var. woolliana clump
Aloe chortolirioides var. woolliana leaves

Photo

K Braun sntc.org.sz

Author

Ivan Latti

Aloe chortolirioides var. woolliana grows a tuft of up to twenty erect, grass-like leaves from a stem-tip. They are narrowly linear and succulent, the tips dry and purplish if not burnt by winter fire or broken off. The lower surface is convex, the upper one nearly flat to shallowly channelled. The leaves are about 25 cm long and 7 mm wide.

White spots are present low down on particularly the outer leaf surfaces. Tiny, soft, cartilaginous teeth occur along the leaf margins, denser and larger nearer the base (Craib, 2005; Van Wyk and Smith, 2003; Reynolds, 1974; Jeppe, 1969; iNaturalist).

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