Aloe africana Mill.

Garden: Balchik
Season: Winter

Aloe africana is a solitary plant, bearing an erect stem up to 2 m high (exceptionally up to 4 m), with a skirt of dry leaves. Its leaves, crowded in a dense, apical rosette, are gracefully spreading to recurved, firm linear-lanceolate, up to 0.65 m long, with a grey-green surface, and its margins armed with small, reddish teeth. Flowers are borne on an erect, unbranched to branched raceme. Its beautiful tubular flowers are up to 55 mm long and curved, the latter feature distinguishing it immediately from close relatives. Its winged seeds are formed in dehiscing capsules and dispersed by wind. Flowering time is from winter to early spring (July to September in South Africa).
Aloe africana is restricted to the southeastern and southwestern part of South Africa, in the Eastern Cape and Western Cape, and is particularly common near Port Elizabeth, Uitenhage and the lower Gamtoos River. It is mainly confined to hills and flats, growing in thicket and renosterveld vegetation. It often grows in association with Aloe feroxA. pluridens and A. speciosa, and hybrids are not uncommon. Soil is sandy and well drained. The climate is moderate, without frost, and hot and humid during summers. Rainfall occurs throughout the year, from 600 to 700 mm per annum
Aloe africana was grown in Europe from the early part of the eighteenth century, prior to Linnaeus establishing his binominal classification system in 1753. It was named by Miller in 1786. The specific epithet africana pertains to its African origin.
Aloe africana can be seen in Expositional Greenhouse  in the University Botanic Garden of Balchik