Aloe pictifolia (Kouga Aloe)


Scientific Name

Aloe pictifolia D.S.Hardy

Common Names

Kouga Aloe, Speckled Aloe

Scientific Classification

Family: Asphodelaceae
Subfamily: Asphodeloideae
Tribe: Aloeae
Genus: Aloe

Description

Aloe pictifolia is an attractive small Aloe up to 12 inches (30 cm) tall. It slowly forms small groups of leaf rosettes (up to 10 inches/25 cm wide) from a short, creeping stem. Leaves are reddish-green to pinkish and are long and very narrow. Both sides of the leaves are covered with small, white spots. Small reddish-brown teeth are present along the margins. Flowers are a dull red, turning yellow when open.

Hardiness

USDA hardiness zone 9b to 11b: from 25 °F (−3.9 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Aloe is a very forgiving plant, and a well-grown plant can be quite beautiful. As with all succulents, it's essential that Aloe is never allowed to sit in stagnant water, and the plant should be carefully monitored to watch for signs of overwatering. Water generously in the summer and nearly cease watering in the winter. Do not let water stand in the rosettes.

Aloe are not particularly fast-growing and will only rarely need repotting. Repot plants in the spring that are tipping over their pots or have ceased growing. Use a fast-draining potting mix with one-third sand or pebbles. During repotting of a larger plant, it is possible to carefully divide the root ball. Some kinds of Aloe will send off off-sets that can be potted independently… – See more at: How to Grow and Care for Aloe.

Origin

Native to the Eastern Cape Providence of South Africa.

Links

  • Back to genus Aloe
  • Succulentopedia: Browse succulents by Scientific Name, Common Name, Genus, Family, USDA Hardiness Zone, Origin, or cacti by Genus

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Aloe pictifolia

Common names: Kouga -aalwyn (Afr.), Kouga aloe (Eng.).

Introduction

An attractive small aloe with greyish-green leaves ornamented with many white spots. It is easily grown and popular in cultivation.

Description

Description

Plants usually form small groups of up to seven rosettes up to 200 mm in diameter with a short ascending to hanging stem The narrowly spear-shaped leaves are up to 150 mm long but no wider than about 25 mm at the base. Both surfaces are densely covered with white spots. Normally the leaves are greyish-green but they turn pinkish-green under drought stress. At first they are arranged in opposite rows (distichous) but later form rosettes. In plants growing in a level position the leaves are ascending or curve inwards but they become recurved when the stem is hanging. The leaf margins are armed with small reddish teeth. The tip of the leaf is drawn into a sharp point ending in a prickle (mucro). The inflorescence is unbranched, erectly spreading, laxly flowered and up to 350 mm high. The flowers are about 16 mm long, reddish pink with a yellow mouth, and are pendulous when open. Capsules are about 15 mm long and 6 mm in diameter. The seeds are angular, grey-black and up to 4 x 2 mm.

Conservation Status

Status

Aloe pictifolia is restricted to a small area where it is well protected due to the inaccessible, sheer rock faces on which it grows. The plant is also well established in cultivation (ex situ conservation) and is grown by succulent plant growers all over the world.

Distribution and habitat

Distribution description

Aloe pictifolia is confined to quartzitic sandstone cliffs (all aspects) overlooking the Kouga River near Hankey in the Eastern Cape. The average daily maximum temperature of the area is about 25ºC and the average daily minimum about 10ºC. Winters are cooler but frost is a rarity or absent. Rainfall occurs during winter and summer and ranges between 400 and 500 mm per annum.

Associated succulents in its habitat include: Cyrtanthus flammosus, C. montanus, Gasteria glomerata, Haworthia gracilis var. picturata, H. viscosa, Plectranthus verticillatus, Othonna lobata, Cotyledon tomentosa subsp. tomentosa, Crassula rupestris subsp. rupestris 'Kouga form' and Adromischus cristatus var. zeyheri. Plants grow at an altitude of 250-500 m in Gamtoos Thicket of the Albany Thicket Biome.

Derivation of name and historical aspects

History

The specific epithet (pictifolia) pertains to its white-spotted leaves (pictus = painted, and folium = leaf). The species was first collected by a Mr Marais on cliffs adjacent to the Kouga Dam (Patensie District, E. Cape). It was named by Mr Dave Hardy (24 September 1931-31 May 1998), former horticulturist at the then Botanical Research Institute in Pretoria.

Ecology

Ecology

Aloe pictifolia flowers during spring (October to November), but sporadically also at other times. Plants are pollinated by sunbirds and seeds are wind-dispersed. The plants grow on quartztic sandstone ledges in full sun or partial shade. When growing pendent from crevices the leaves recurve and when growing erectly the leaves are ascending to incurved. Plants are initially solitary but the rosettes divide to form small to dense clusters. During wet conditions the leaves become very turgid and almost rounded (subterete) during dry spells they become flattened and reddish-tinged.

It is popular in cultivation and is not used medicinally.

Growing Aloe pictifolia

Aloe pictifolia is an atractive small plant best grown in Thicket Gardens. It is an easy grower, and can be planted in full sun or partial shade. Propagation is easy, from both division or seed and plants thrive in small containers. Seed germinates within 3 weeks and plants will flower in the third year. In areas where frost is experienced, it is best grown as a container subject in a greenhouse under controlled environmental conditions.

References

  • Glen, H.F. & Hardy, D.S. 2000. Aloaceae (first part): Aloe. Flora of southern Africa 5,1,1. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.
  • Hardy, D.S. 1976. A new species of Aloe from the Humansdorp District. Bothalia 12: 62.

Credits

Ernst van Jaarsveld
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden
28 July 2008

Plant Attributes:

SA Distribution: Eastern Cape

Flowering season: Spring, Winter

Aspect: Full Sun, Shade, Morning Sun (Semi Shade), Afternoon Sun (Semi Shade)


Aloe petricola

Common names: rock aloe (Eng.) rotsaalwyn (Afr.)

Introduction

The rock aloe, true to its name, is perfect for rocky areas in the garden, producing beautiful bicoloured flowers that will attract nectar-feeding birds to your garden.

Description

Description

This is generally a stemless aloe, although very short stems have been found. It grows to between 450 and 600 mm tall. The plants grow as single, densely leafy rosettes. The rosette has a rounded appearance caused by the upper parts of the leaves that are curved inwards. The leaves are greyish green and long, with broad bases and narrow tips. The upper, and especially the lower surfaces, have scattered thorns on them. The leaf margins are armed with 5 mm long, sharp, brown, triangular teeth.

The inflorescence vary in number on young to older plants, with younger plants only having one, but in older plants it can go to between three and four branches, in some cases up to six. The densely flowered racemes (flowerheads) are long, narrow and bicoloured. The tubular flowers are up to 30 mm long and wider in the middle. The general bicoloured forms have red buds with the open flowers turning a greenish white. In some forms though, the buds can be orange and the open flowers yellow. Flowering takes place in winter, between July and August. The flowers are followed by the seeds which are enclosed in capsules.


Conservation Status

Status

According to the website http://redlist.sanbi.org, checked on 6 October 2015, the conservation status of this plant is LC (Least Concern).

Aloe petricola has a restricted range, but it is locally common and numbers thousands of plants. Although about 52% of its range has been transformed by forestry plantations, this species occurs in extremely shallow soils in and around rocky outcrops which are not suitable for trees, and the plantations have thus not had a significant impact on the wild population. This species is still common, its population is stable and its habitat is not threatened.

Distribution and habitat

Distribution description

Aloe petricola has a restricted range, found naturally only around Nelspruit in Mpumalanga, from Sabie to Barberton, westwards to Schoemanskloof and eastwards to Krokodilpoort and Pretoriuskop. It is found at altitudes ranging from 500 to 1 000 m or 1 650 to 3 300 m, on sandstone slopes and granite outcrops. In this area it is relatively common, growing in large groups, sometimes in very shallow soil, in rocky outcrops and slopes.

Derivation of name and historical aspects

History

The name of the genus aloe, is derived from the Greek, alsos, which refers to the bitter juice found in the leaves of these plants. It can be traced back earlier to the Arabic word alloeh, or the Hebrew word allal, both meaning ‘bitter’. The scientific name petricola, means ‘inhabitant of rocky places’, referring to this aloe’s preferred habitat.

Aloe within South Africa consists of 155 species. Recent genetic studies have, however, led to certain re-classifications, and some plants formerly known by the genus Aloe, has now been changed to Aloiampelos, Aloidendron and Aristaloe. Aloes are used throughout the world as garden subjects as well as for various medicinal uses.

Ecology

Ecology

Aloes have nectar- and pollen-rich flowers that attract a wide variety of animals, ranging from insects to birds, and even small lizards. The plants themselves are also used by animals such as baboons and rock hyrax during times of drought as a source of food and water.

Aloes are one of the most widely used medicinal plants in the world, both traditionally and commercially.

Aloe plants produce two substances that are used, namely gel and latex. The gel is a clear, jelly-like substance found on the inside part of the leaf. The latex comes from just under the skin of the leaf and is yellow. In some products both the gel and latex are used. It is used to treat a wide variety of ailments, including ulcers, colds and constipation.

Aloe gel is also used in a wide variety of commercial skincare products, ranging from medicinal treatments for burns and other skin irritations, to cosmetics and hand lotions.

Aloe petricola, is used as a remedy to heal stomach ailments. The sap-filled leaves are used for this, as well as for treating wounds and minor burns.

Growing Aloe petricola

Aloe petricola grows well in cultivation and is a welcome addition to a water-wise garden, needing little maintenance given the right environment and is able to grow in those difficult, rocky places found in some gardens and is, therefore, perfect for landscaped rockeries. They are also well suited to sloping banks and even in containers. Planting them in groups make for a spectacular sight when they are in full bloom.

This aloe is drought resistant, as are most of the other aloes, although if watered in its summer growing season, it will thrive and flower more profusely.

For optimum growth, they need a well-drained soil with a pH that is either acidic, neutral (pH=7), or very slightly basic. They can, however, grow in different soil types, from clay-like soils to sandy soils.

Aloe petricola grows easily from seed. Let the pods dry on the plant, and when completely dried, break open and collect the seeds. Plant in semi-shade to full sun and protect the plants from severe frost. The plants will benefit from a regular mulch of compost.

A combination of factors can lead to unhealthy plants they include incorrect watering, poor drainage or too much shade. It can lead to attack by pests and diseases. Stressed plants are susceptible to white scale, aloe cancer, aloe rust and the aloe snout beetle.

References

  • Reynolds, G.W. 1969. The aloes of South Africa. Balkema, Cape Town.
  • Van Wyk, B. & Smith, G.F. 2014. Guide to the aloes of South Africa. Briza Publications, Pretoria.
  • Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aloe_petricola accessed 6/10/15
  • Fryslan Wood and Garden Centre http://www.fryslan.co.za/#!aloe-petricola/c1w7e accessed 6/10/15
  • Succulents.co.za Succulent plant site http://www.succulents.co.za/aloes/stemless-aloes/aloe-petricola.php accessed 6/10/15
  • Dave’s Garden http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/60932/ accessed 6/10/15

Credits

Lou-Nita Le Roux
Lowveld National Botanical Garden
October 2015


Africa’s bittersweet beauties: An aloe display in the Puff Adder

New visitors will be delighted to discover that the Puff Adder path currently holds an exhibition of the aloes we lovingly preserve on the Babylonstoren farm. Sourced from far and wide across South Africa, our collection of aloes includes each of the 11 genera currently documented.

Thank you to Jessica Stafford & Hameer Vanmali for capturing these bittersweet beauties.

The exhibition guides you through an educational and spellbinding journey of the collection, revealing the unique features that make the indigenous aloe so hardy in their hostile habitats. It cannot be denied that the aloe represents a proudly local icon, particularly against the semi-arid regions of our country, with their bold shape and fiery tubular flowers.

This exhibition is especially relevant now – an indigenous species with the greatest diversity locally, the aloe has adapted to the unique challenges of the South African terrain. The aloe is a waterwise plant that is best grown on well-drained sites with ample compost and full sun. They make for excellent fire protection and provide a haven for sunbirds. Other than being a way of fending off grazers, the bitter sap is well known for its soothing effect on sun and stove burns.

Did you know? Each genera of aloe has unique features enabling it to survive in its harsh conditions. For example, the smaller dwarf aloe (Haworthia) camouflages itself on unreachable cliffs. In contrast, the ox-tongue aloe (Gasteria) has brittle, non-bitter mottled leaves that simply resprout after being grazed on. Find out more survival mechanism adapted by this fascinating plant species at our exhibition.

The variety of aloes on display include: Tree aloe boomaalwyn, (Aloidendron barberae) | Tonga Tree Aloe, Tonga-boomaalwyn (Aloidendron tongaensis) | Quiver tree, kokerboom (Aloidendron dichotomum) | Fan aloe, waaieraalwy (Kumara plicatilis) | Dwarf aloe dwergaalwyn (Haworthia maculata) | Klimaalywyn, Climbing aloe (Aloiampelos ciliaris) | Kamiesbergaalwyn (Aloe kamiesensis) | Kunene-aalwyn (Aloe huntleyana) | Olifants-spikkelaalwyn (Aloe monotropa) | Kouga-aalwyn (Aloe pictifolia) | Magaliesberg-aalwyn (Aloe peglerae) | Driesustersaalwyn three sisters aloe (Aloe rouxii) | Baker aloe (A. bakerii) | Somaliee aalwyn (Aloe somaliensis) | Dwerg-aalwyn (Aloe krapohliana) | vera-aalwyn (Aloe vera) | Mbashee aalwyn, Mbashe aloe (Aloe reynoldsii) | Steekaalwyntjie (Astroloba rubriflora) | Drakensberg-dwergaalwyntjie (Aristaloe aristata) | Kanniedood (Gonialoe variegata) | Knoppies-dwergaalwyn (Tulista pumila) | Zebra-dwergaalwyn (Haworthiopsis attenuata) | Lebombo dwergaalwyntjie (H. limifolia) | Suurberg-dwergaalwntjie (H. glauca) | Mbashe dwegaalwyntjei (H. glabrata) | Zebra-dwergaalwytie (H. reinwardtii) | wurm-dwergaalwyntjie (H. coarctata) | Perdetande (H. truncata) | stokkiesaalwyn (H. longiana) | Kransbeestong (Gasteria excelsa) | Gamtoosbeestong (G. pulchra) | Bontbeestog (G. bicolor var. bicolor) | Dwergbeestong (G. bicolor var lliliputana) | waaierbeestong (G. brachyphylla) | Oukossie (G. disticha) | kransklouertjie (G. glomerata) | vaalbeestong (G. glauca) | skerptongetjie (G. ellaphieae) | knoppiesblaarbeestong (G. carinata var. verrucosa) | skurweblaarbeestong (G. batesiana)

Not getting enough of these bittersweet beauties? From the smallest to the largest on the planet – we dish out all the tips for growing succulents at our workshop.


Aloe pictifolia (Kouga Aloe) - garden

Origin and Habitat: Aloe pictifolia is restricted to quartzitic sandstone cliffs (all aspects) overlooking the Kouga River near Hankey in the Humansdorp district, Eastern Cape of South Africa (Extent of occurrence 300 km2).
Altitude range: 250-500 metres above sea level.
Habitat and ecology: Aloe pictifolia grows in inaccessible, sheer rock faces and ledges on quartztic sandstone in full sun or partial shade in Gamtoos Thicket of the Albany Thicket Biome. It branches into great clusters which overhang rocks, the curving leaves reflexed or ascending. The average daily maximum temperature of the area is about 25

Description: Aloe pictifolia (Speckled Aloe) is an attractive small aloe up to 200-300 mm tall that slowly forms small groups of leaf rosettes. The blue-grey-green leaves are ornamented with many white spots. Out of habitat, this plant is reminiscent of Aloe microstigma, to which it is probably closely related.
Derivation of specific name: The name 'pictifolia' means 'painted leaves', a reference to the extensively white-spotted surface its leaves.
Habit Plants usually form small to dense groups of up to seven rosettes 20-25 cm in diameter.
Stem: Short, creeping, ascending to hanging up to 12 cm long, with persistent dead leaf-bases and branching at base.
Rosettes: At first the leaves are arranged in opposite rows (distichous) but later form rosettes of 16-40 leaves.
Leaves: Narrowly spear-shaped up to 120-175 mm long but no wider than about 25 mm at the base. Both sides of the leaves are glaucous and covered with many small white spots, lower face with prickles on a keel near tip. Small reddish-brown, pungent, teeth to 1 mm long, 4-5 mm apart are present along the margins. In plants growing in a level position the leaves are ascending, but often in varying ways on the same rosette, with some curving inward and a few sideways, and they become recurved when the stem is hanging. Margins armed with small reddish teeth. Apex sharp ending in a prickle (mucro). During wet conditions the leaves are greyish-green and become very turgid and almost rounded (subterete) during dry spells they become flattened and turn pinkish-green to dark maroon.
Inflorescene: Unbranched 20 to 35 cm long, erectly spreading or horizontal, with a cylindrical-acuminate ascending laxly or densely flowered raceme, 14-17 cm long and 3.5-4 cm in diameter. Peduncle 200-400 mm long. Bracts ovate-acute to spathulate, obtuse, 6-10 mm long 3-4 mm wide, 7-nerved.
Flowers: Nodding, 15-18 mm long, cylindric, scarlet, dull red or pinkish, with a yellow or greenish mouth when open. Pedicels 11-15 mm long. Base rounded 3 - 4 mm in diameter across the ovary, slightly narrowing to mouth Tepals free to base. Anthers exserted up to 2 mm. Ovary 2.5-4.0 x 1.5 mm, Style exserted up to 2 mm long.
Blooming season: Aloe pictifolia flowers during spring (in habitat October to November), but sporadically also at other times.
Fruits (capsules): About 15 mm long and 6 mm in diameter.
Seeds: Angular, grey-black and up to 4 x 2 mm.

Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) San Marcos Growers contributors Aloe pictifolia - Speckled Aloe San Marcos Growers . Web. 27 Sep. 2014.
2) Glen, H.F. & Hardy, D.S. Aloaceae (first part): Aloe. Flora of southern Africa 5,1,1. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria. 2000
3) Hardy, D.S. A new species of Aloe from the Humansdorp District., Bothalia 12: 62. 1976
4) Ernst van Jaarsveld Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden 28 July 2008. Aloe pictifolia D.S.Hardy " SANBI - South African National Biodiversity Institute, South Africa. Web. 20 Oct. 2014.
5) Doreen Court, Succulent Flora of Southern Africa CRC Press, 01/Jun/2000
6) Domitilla Raimondo, Red list of South African plants 2009, South African National Biodiversity Institute, 2009
7) Gideon Smith, Braam Van Wyk, Aloes in Southern Africa, International Pub Marketing, 2008
8) Dr J.P. Roux, Flora of South Africa 2003

Cultivation and Propagation: Aloe pictifolia is easy to grow, requiring very little care. In the wild this plant grows on cliffs. Easy to grow and good for small pots. Suckers vigorously.
Growing rate: It grow slowly, but not agonisingly so being able to increase is height by 10-20 (or more) cm per year under favourable conditions.
Potting medium: Always use a good quality, loamy sandy soil with plenty of drainage chips at the bottom of containers.
Fertilization: The plants are fertilized only once during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer diluted to ? the recommended strength.
Watering: It tolerates weekly watering in the summer once a month, or not at all in the colder months of December and January. Can withstand long periods of drought, but it will thrive and flower more profusely if watered in the correct season. The plants will benefit from a regular mulch of compost.
Exposition: The plant needs full sun to light shade, with some sun exposure the leaf develops a nice reddish tint and remains compact.
Hardiness: It can take a few degrees of frost in winter as well, but prefers hot summers. It grows much better outdoors in spring and summer. In mild climates it can be cultivated outdoors for use in landscaping, preferably planting it in hot and dry rock gardens. It will grow best in regions with a climate close to that of its native deserts not too cold, and not too wet. In areas where frost is experienced, it is best grown as a container subject in a greenhouse under controlled environmental conditions.
Pest and diseases: Incorrect watering, poor drainage or too much shade can lead to attack by pests and diseases.
Gardening: This aloe can be grown in large, rocky, well-drained soil in gardens in drier areas. It is very drought resistant but susceptible to frost. They make particularly nice low maintenance garden plants which are especially attractive when in flower in the barren winter months.
Medicine: Aloe microstigma is not recorded as a medicinal plant but it is said that the bitter sap has healing properties in cases of cuts and burn wounds.
Propagation: Propagation is easy, from both division or seed planted in autumn, in trays of coarse river sand. Seed germinates within 3 weeks and plants will flower in the third year. Branches (if available) can also be detached for propagation. cuttings must be dried out for at least 1 week before planting in river sand.



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