Aloe arborescens branches much, forming broad and tall shrubs or trees of more than 2 m in both dimensions. Arborescens means tree-like in Latin.
Old leaves only persist for a while, close to the stem-tip rosettes on their slender branches. Leaf length varies much, also their curvature; the average length about 55 cm. The many-leaved, whorled rosettes are often presented at oblique angles.
The distribution all along the southern and eastern coasts of South Africa to the hills and mountains of that broad swathe of land extends to the tropical countries of south-eastern Africa as far as Malawi.
Adaptation to different conditions has brought the plant variations in growth habit, leaf colour and shape. Even the leaf margins aren’t always armed with the familiar rows of spines. The about conical racemes bear scarlet flowers, although flower colours include pink, orange and yellow.
Flowers are usually seen from late autumn to midwinter. This joyous reveller was found in June, planted long ago next to a country road through wheat fields near Caledon.
Many gardens could benefit from planting a modest cutting donated by a fortunate neighbour (Coates Palgrave, 2002; Van Wyk and Smith, 2003).