Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden
Aloe succotrina rosette
Aloe succotrina forms robust clumps of its very attractive rosettes with their erect, grey-green leaves and the light coloured teeth that only occur on the cartilaginous marginal border. The leaves are occasionally spotted. The plant is stemless when young and develops procumbent stems of up to a metre in some mature plants. Flowers are red to pink, blooming on single or once branched conical racemes in late winter.
Aloe rupestris, the bottle-brush aloe previously known as A. nitens, is usually single-stemmed growing tall, from 6 m to 8 m in height (SA Tree List No. 30.3). This plant in cultivation in Melbourne, Australia has many small shoots at its base, a feature that is known to occur, although branches of the main stem are rare.
Aloe perfoliata, the mitre aloe, has long thin stems, seemingly too weak to keep the dense load of stout leaves erect. This plant is known as one of the creeping aloes with stems that often lie on the ground and just the rosettes at the ends of branches pointing upwards. The stem of the young Kirstenbosch plant in picture has not quite succumbed to gravity yet.
Aloe pictifolia is a small plant from a very limited distribution area. It grows on cliffs in the Kouga Mountains and the Baviaanskloof north of Humansdorp in the Eastern Cape. The plant may grow several rosettes, branching from the base.
Scattered stands of Aloe pearsonii in its stony slope habitat may dominate parts of the vegetation. Some bare patches are in view wherever one looks in this arid land, bigger shrubs being few. Succulent plants that store moisture for the frequent dry periods have head start to grow again as soon as conditions permit.
These Aloe melanacantha leaf rosettes were seen in the Goegap Nature Reserve in August. Flowering happens at the end of autumn and early winter but this clump may have skipped a season. The black thorns occur only on leaf margins and the upper part of the keel on the outside surface.
Aloe mitriformis now called Aloe perfoliata
Aloe mitriformis is one of the Western Cape creeping or trailing aloes. The name has been changed to A. perfoliata. The plant branches repeatedly and sustains leaves only towards the ends of branches. These leaf rosettes are too large and heavy for the thin branches to support in an erect position, leaving the stems procumbent.
Aloe marlothii plants growing well can be expected to reach a height of around 4 m. When the 50 or so leaves are fully fleshed out and become up to 1,5 m long, the size of these plants can be truly imposing.
The flat-topped (capitate as opposed to conical) raceme of Aloe maculata also occurs in some other spotted, stemless aloes. They include A. affinis, A. petrophila, A. prinslooi, A. swynnertonii, A. umfoloziensis and A. vogtsii. Several of those have much narrower or less spotted leaves and more branches in the panicles. Some also have very localised, small distributions, unlike A. maculata, previously known as A. saponaria. A. maculata was described by Reynolds (1974) as the most variable among the spotted aloes.
The succulent leaves of Aloe kouebokkeveldensis grow in a dense rosette that reminds of that of A. striata. The smooth leaf surfaces have faint signs of longitudinal line markings. The margins are entire without spines, a yellow or reddish cartilaginous rim visible upon them. The leaves taper gradually to their acute tips, the leaf base curving in where it clasps the younger leaves above it.
Aloe greenii grows up to twenty lance-shaped to linear leaves that attenuate gradually and recurve slightly towards their tips. Oblong to elliptic white leaf markings are scattered in varying density along both leaf surfaces, sometimes becoming confluent in irregularly shaped transversal bands. Leaves become about 50 cm long and 8 cm wide at the base. The marginal leaf prickles are hard, sharp and pinkish brown.
Aloe glauca, in Afrikaans commonly known as the blouaalwyn (blue aloe), is a stemless or short-stemmed leaf succulent that often branches sparingly from near the base, reaching heights of 90 cm to 1,35 m.