Photo: Ricky Mauer
Author: Ivan Latti
Aloe cryptopoda is a stemless aloe with a large, dense rosette of deep green leaves. Leaf margins have small dark brown to black spines. The plants grow in bushveld grass, among rocks and shrubs. The species distribution is widespread in the north of South Africa and several neighbouring countries, up to Malawi.
The more diverse the habitat and conditions in parts of a species distribution, the bigger the differences that may be expected in adaptations by a species. A. cryptopoda varies in leaf and flower colour in its extensive habitat. The one in picture has grey-green leaves and the open perianths are red.
Some specimens have perianths that turn yellow once they open and have dark green leaves. Some plants in Limpopo are very much larger, with inflorescences that may be 2,5 m tall, while in Botswana they are much smaller and the inflorescence usually has fewer branches (Jeppe, 1969).