Aloe mutabilis

Botanical name

Aloe mutabilis

Other names

Aloe arborescens

Family

Asphodelaceae

Dimensions

A hanging or cliff-dwelling aloe; the plants often appear to be precariously suspended over steep kloofs in strikingly inaccessible spots

Description of stem

The branched stems may reach about 1 m in length,  mostly curved or trailing to support the rosettes among the uneven rock or cliff edge situations of their normal habitat; this aloe has few branches compared to Aloe arborescens to which it is closely related (or currently officially merged into?)

Description of leaves

Blue-green, arranged in dense, sometimes spiralling rosettes; leaf apices often dried out due to drought or cold, with the live part near the apex often pink; soft yellow teeth occur on the leaf edges only

Description of flowers

Sometimes uniformly red, otherwise red buds with yellow open perianths below; the inflorescence normally consists of only one or two racemes; it flowers in winter

Desciption of seed/fruit

 

Description of roots

 

Variation

Two flower types; should now probably be taken as a variation within A. arborescens; the name 'mutabilis' denotes changeable, a feature it shares with A. arborescens

Propagation and cultivation

Grown from seeds or offshoots; fast growing

Tolerances

Frost resistant

Uses

Garden plant

Ecological rarity

Common

Pests and diseases

White scale, aloe rust and cancer, snout beetle; more attacked when growing in unfavourable conditions (poor drainage and sunlight)

Other

 

Location

Often a 'cliff-hanger aloe', over deep ravines rivers or rock pools where the unusual positioning enhances the impact of the plant's appearance

Distribution (SA provinces)

Gauteng, Limpopo, North West

Country

South Africa