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Aloe broomii (Snake Aloe)

Aloe broomii (Snake Aloe)


Scientific Name

Aloe broomii Schönland

Common Names

Mountain Aloe, Snake Aloe

Synonyms

Aloe broomii var. broomii

Scientific Classification

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

Description

Aloe broomii is a robust, usually single-stemmed succulent, although it may split into groups with up to three rosettes. It grows up to 5 feet (1.5 m) tall, including the inflorescence. Leaves are fleshy and edged with small thorns. These thorns are very dark compared to other species whose thorns are either green or white. This plant's most notable feature is its odd inflorescence, where the flowers are hidden by the extended bracts, giving it a sinuous, snake-like appearance, hence its name.

Hardiness

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

How to Grow and Care

Aloes can live long and thrive with very little care. These plants are great for beginners.

When growing Aloes indoors, place your plants near a southern or southwest-facing window that gets plenty of bright, indirect light. To keep your Aloes looking green, avoid exposing them to direct sun, which can cause leaves to brown. Rotate the pots once or twice a week so that all sides of the plants receive equal lighting. Rotating your Aloe also helps balance out the plant's look, as leaves tend to grow toward the sunlight.

Outdoors, provide light shade, especially during the hottest parts of the day. An excellent spot for growing Aloe outdoors is on a covered patio or porch.

Plant Aloes in a well-drained soil specially formulated for cacti and other succulents or make your soil mix. Drainage is essential because too much moisture around roots can cause root rot.

These succulents do need regular watering but are very tolerant of drought conditions for short periods. Water deeply, but only when the soil is completely dry. Cut back on watering during the winter months. Overwatering is the top reason Aloe plants die. Do not let water stand in the rosettes.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Aloe.

Origin

Native to South Africa and Lesotho.

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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Plants→Aloes→Snake Aloe (Aloe broomii var. broomii)

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Cactus/Succulent
Life cycle: Perennial
Leaves: Evergreen
Fruit: Dehiscent
Flowers: Showy
Suitable Locations: Xeriscapic
Uses: Will Naturalize
Wildlife Attractant: Hummingbirds
Propagation: Seeds: Can handle transplanting
Other info: Sow seeds in sandy soil. Seeds germinate in a few weeks at temperatures between 68 and 75 degrees F. Seedlings need moist but well-drained soil.
Propagation: Other methods: Cuttings: Stem
Offsets
Other: Stems cut below a node root easily. Cut a stem that has gotten leggy, let it dry out for at least a few hours to form a seal on the cut surface. Place the cutting in rooting medium kept moist, but not wet, until roots form.
Containers: Needs excellent drainage in pots

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Taisha begins a series on plants and biomes of South Africa today. She writes:

This photograph of Aloe broomii was uploaded to the Botany Photo of the Day Flickr Pool by [email protected] frequent contributor sharing photos of flora from South Africa and New York. Thank-you, Marie! (and here is her weblog for further reading: 66 Square Feet (Plus)

South Africa has eight major terrestrial biomes (PDF): the Nama Karoo, succulent Karoo, fynbos, forest, thicket, savanna, grassland, and desert (see map). These biomes (large-scale biotic communities) each have distinct climatic and environmental conditions. Correspondingly, each biome has a flora and fauna with different adaptations.

The first biome in the series is the Nama Karoo. The Nama Karoo is an area on the central plateau of the western half of South Africa. The Nama Karoo is the second largest biome in the region and is divided into three main subregions: the Upper Karoo, the Great Karoo, and the Lower Karoo. The altitude is between 500 and 2000 m with most of the area between 1000-1400 m. Most of the rain falls in the summer months between December and March, and temperatures may reach over 30°C. In the mid-winter (July), temperatures may be below freezing. Shallow and weakly developed lime-rich soils cover most of the region.

The vegetation type of this area includes many dwarf shrubs and grasses. This area is not particularly species rich, although much of the flora is adapted to the local climatic extremes. One of these plant species is Aloe broomii, of the Xanthorrhoeaceae. This species is also known as the snake aloe in reference to its snake-like racemes. Aloe broomii has unique flowers—the buds are hidden from view by longer bracts, and only the stigma and styles peak out awaiting pollination by visiting bees, sunbirds, and ants. These pollinators are attracted by the nectar. The many light-winged seeds of Aloe broomii are dispersed by wind and may be consumed by small maize or rice weevils (Sitophilus spp.). Some farmers in the Steynsburg district will boil the leaves to extract a brownish fluid. This fluid may be used in a number of ways: to kill ticks, as a disinfectant, as an ear remedy for sheep, or given to horses in small doses to make their blood temporarily bitter, causing any ticks to disengage from the animal.


Plants→Aloes→Mountain Aloe (Aloe broomii)

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Cactus/Succulent
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun to Partial Shade
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 9b -3.9 °C (25 °F) to -1.1 °C (30 °F)
Leaves: Evergreen
Fruit: Dehiscent
Fruiting Time: Summer
Flowers: Showy
Flower Color: Yellow
Bloom Size: Under 1"
Flower Time: Spring
Inflorescence Height : Up to 3 feet
Suitable Locations: Xeriscapic
Uses: Will Naturalize
Wildlife Attractant: Hummingbirds
Resistances: Drought tolerant
Propagation: Seeds: Can handle transplanting
Other info: Sow seeds in sandy soil. Seeds germinate in a few weeks at temperatures between 68 and 75 degrees F. Seedlings need moist but well-drained soil.
Containers: Needs excellent drainage in pots
Miscellaneous: With thorns/spines/prickles/teeth

Short-stemmed, mostly solitary green to brown aloe from South Africa and Lesotho. Medium size (2-3 feet wide). Rosette may be open and green or closed and brownish, depending on drought stress. In seasonally dry climates like ours (with dry summers) the plant bears a clenched, brown affect during the dry season, opening and greening up within days after the first rain.

This aloe is noteworthy for its unbranched, tall, densely flowered, spike-like inflorescence where flower perianths are completely hidden by bracts (except on var. tarkaensis, whose bracts are about half as long as the perianth). The greenish color of the inflorescence is due to the bracts, while the orange and yellow highlights are due to exserted filaments and anthers.

Heat and drought tolerant. Leaf tips are well armed.


Watch the video: Aloes 101: Care, troubleshooting, demos and more