Aloe marlothii

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Botanical name

Aloe marlothii

Other names

Bergaalwyn (Afrikaans); umHlaba (Zulu); Kgopha (Sotho); Aloe spectabilis

Family

Asphodelaceae

Dimensions

Tree aloe, 2 to 6 m in height, with a wide and imposing single rosette

Description of stem

Single-stemmed upright, dry leaves persist on older plants below the rosette, but not to ground level

Description of leaves

Broad, succulent leaves, up to 1,5 m long and 25 cm wide at the base, tapering; grey-green to yellow-green; covered with thorns on both surfaces and red-brown spines on the edges

Description of flowers

The inflorescence is multiply branched with up to 30 outwardly slanted or horizontal racemes (the inflorescence may sometimes reach an exceptional size); flowers often orange-red, varying from red to yellow, occasionally two-toned;·flowering in winter

Description of seed/fruit

Fruit a lily-seed resembling capsule

Description of roots

 

Variation

The density of spines on the leaf surfaces; leaf and flower colour

Propagation and cultivation

Propagates from seed without difficulty in hot summer rainfall conditions; choose well-drained, full sun sites and plant with ample compost; transplants easily, even in the case of very small plants; roots or stem base does not have to be retained upon transplanting, other than for assisting balancing the plant; withstands varying rainfall and a wide range of temperatures

Tolerances

Drought and moderate cold resistant

Uses

Garden plants; limited medicinal use occurs of leaf sap in treating ailments such as roundworm and tapeworm; grounded leaf-powder (or ash) has been reported to be useful as a snuff admixture; kudus have been found to browse the leaves in conditions of extreme drought in spite of the thorny defence; hybridises readily with various other aloes

Ecological rarity

Not threatened

Pests and diseases

Prone to infestation with white scale insects that can be treated by applying a mixture of methylated spirits and soap or aerosol insecticides

Other

Aloe spectabilis from Kwazulu-Natal, with its racemes more erect, is lately regarded as part of A. marlothii

Location

Grassland, bushveld, wooded and rocky hills, mountainous areas

Distribution (SA provinces)

Mpumalanga, Gauteng, North West, Limpopo, Kwazulu-Natal

Country

South Africa, Swaziland, Mozambique, Zimbabwe

[Information from www.plantzafrica.com]



Seed capsules photographed by Johannes Vogel

A mature stand of Aloe marlothii in habitat, photo Jack Latti

Photo Johannes Vogel

Category: Aloes
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