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Photo: Ivan Latti

Author: Ivan Latti

Aloe dorothea, a hybrid

Aloe hybrids in cultivation are increasing in numbers and diversity well beyond the range of those occurring spontaneously in nature. Where aloes of different species grow in close proximity to each other and flower at the same time, hybrids may occur naturally. The features of specific aloes are increasingly considered by horticulturists for producing targeted outcomes.

Size, flower colour, leaf and overall plant shape are some of the deliberately hybrid offerings brought onto the market. The seeds of hybrids yield still more results when sown and grown. Most of these cross-bred outcomes “do not work” or hold no special attraction for the gardening world. The process of developing desirable cultivars is slow, costly and laborious. It does sometimes, however, yield exciting and beautiful outcomes. These are then usually registered and vegetatively multiplied for the market by their owners.

Aloe dorothea was found in the botanical garden or Hortus Botanicus of the University of Stellenbosch. It is unknown when this hybrid flowers or what the flowers look like. It could be any of several of the maculate or spotted leaf, stemless aloes that may have been used in producing this hybrid. The leaf rosette does hold its own attraction. This specimen had more spots on the lower leaf surfaces than on top.

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