Aloe mutabilis

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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

Category: Aloes
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