Karoo Desert National Botanical Garden
The inflorescence of Aloe microstigma is an unbranched, narrow, oblong to conical raceme of up to 1 m. Two or three racemes may grow simultaneously on mature plants in good condition. The buds are red or orange, remaining orange or turning yellow upon opening, as in the specimen in picture. The bicolour form is more prevalent
Aloe vanbalenii is stemless or has short creeping stems among the clump of densely arranged rosettes that commonly develop in favourable growing conditions. It is found in nature in northern KwaZulu-Natal among rocks and sunny outcrops.
Aloe speciosa is usually a single stem plant with a tall erect trunk on mature plants. This Aloe reaches heights of 6 m. In the rare event of branching, as happened with the pictured specimen, it usually takes place right at the base when the seedlings initially form rosettes. Reynolds presented a photo of a plant with four branches growing near Fort Beaufort (1974).
Aloe lineata var. muirii
Aloe lineata var. muirii is normally single-stemmed, rarely branched. When branching occurs, it may be low down, but not always. The leaves show longitudinal red lines as the specific name lineata suggests. The leaf margins have prominent red teeth, the blade surfaces are smooth.
Aloe karasbergensis, previously known as A. striata subsp. karasbergensis, is a bulky, stemless or occasionally short-stemmed leaf succulent that branches, growing up to 20 rosettes. Especially when there are fewer, one rosette may be over 1 m in diameter and the plant in flower up to 1,8 m tall.
In flower Aloe gariepensis can be an imposing presence in the usually bleak, exposed, short scrub of the far Northern Cape. Look for it from Keimoes to the Gariep mouth, on both sides of the river. The specimen in picture has a short stem covered in desiccated foliage, typical of mature plants of the species.
Aloe comptonii is one of the creeping aloes. This means that it has one or more rosettes facing up, stems of varying length lying on the ground. There is a difference between stemless A. comptonii plants in the east of the species distribution in the Karoo and Eastern Cape as far as Uitenhage, and ones with stems in the west, the Little Karoo and Great Karoo as far west as Montagu.