Photo: Ivan Latti

Author: Ivan Latti

Aloe grandidentata

This member of the spotted or maculate group of aloes is widespread in the South African dry interior. Aloe grandidentata naturally forms colonies by growing underground stolons or suckers spreading sideways. The name grandidentatameans "with large teeth". This may be seen as somewhat overstated, although the leaf edge teeth can be quite stout and robust.

Aloe species cross-breed or hybridise naturally among each other in certain combinations, causing some identification hazards. Sometimes the hybrids produce specially beautiful flowers. Horticulture has developed specialization and market niches for these plants.

The same natural flowering season for two species sharing or overlapping distribution increases the possibilities. So does the human habit of gardening, which brings plants into new environments where unexpected encounters among species may occur. Beyond the intervention from meddlesome humans, natural habitat will evolve continuously, spontaneously exercising this capability of natural life.

 

Photo: Ivan Latti

Author: Ivan Latti

Aloe grandidentata leaf rosette

Aloe grandidentata, the bontaalwyn in Afrikaans, has a leaf rosette that looks quite similar to those of many of the other stemless, spotted or maculate aloes. Its flowers are, however, quite unique. They lack the basal swelling of the perianth. Their perianths are club-shaped or clavate, i.e. the individual flowers or perianth tubes are larger at the apex, the tip, than at the base.

Leaf surfaces are covered in white markings, often arranged in transverse rows. The lower surface often has more of these markings. The leaves have horny edges and stout, sharp, hooked or straight teeth, while the leaf surfaces are smooth. The plant tends to grow suckers with a secondary rosette at its tip, thus forming a cluster.

The plant is a common garden subject and grows well in cultivation. The natural habitat includes much of the western summer rainfall areas of the interior of South Africa and also Botswana (Jeppe, 1969).

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