Photo: Thabo Maphisa
Author: Ivan Latti
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.
One or two laxly flowered, slender inflorescences of up to 1,3 m are produced between midsummer and early autumn. Four to seven cylindrical to conical racemes form the panicle. Long, pointed, lanceolate bracts subtend every panicle branch. The dark to flesh pink perianth is constricted above the basal swelling over its ovary. The anthers and stigma are exserted from the perianth mouth.
Reynolds found the species more worth cultivating for its gracefully curving leaves than its flowers.
The closest resemblance to another species is A. pruinosa that flowers taller, doesn’t clump as much and has a stronger, greyish white bloom over flowers and peduncle.
The inflorescence sometimes produces plantlets vegetatively, a survival response found in several Aloe species (Van Wyk and Smith, 2003; Reynolds, 1974; Jeppe, 1969; www.plantzafrica.com).
Aloe greenii gone purple
Aloe greenii, one of the many spotted aloes of South Africa, is mostly stemless and forms clumps from spreading suckers. Usually bright green, the leaves of this plant have gone purple, finding its rock garden conditions a tad challenging at the end of a hot dry season, probably having had more sun than it relishes.
The species distribution is in north-eastern KwaZulu-Natal and southern Mozambique at medium to low altitudes in warm, high rainfall and frost-free conditions. It is often found on flats among trees and shrubs, thriving in shade over well-drained sandy soil. The species is not considered threatened in its habitat early in the twenty first century (Van Wyk and Smith, 2003; Reynolds, 1974; Jeppe, 1969; www.redlist.sanbi.org).