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Aloes in Southern Africa

Aloes in Southern Africa

58 aloe and related species of Southern Africa including cultivation and propagation
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978-1-77007-462-0
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Aloes in Southern Africa

Author: Gideon Smith
Struik Publishers
Cape Town, 2008
ISBN: 978-1-77007-462-0
Soft cover, 21x23 cm, 136 pages, throughout colour photos


Description:

Aloes are the flagship plants of Africa, vividly defining the landscapes in which they occur.

In garden settings, these stately succulent plants capture the allure of the African savanna and serve as excellent focus plants around which other indigenous plants can be successfully grouped.

Aloes in Southern Africa explores the character and biology of African aloes, describing their habits, characteristic features and distribution in nature.

It also details 58 aloe and related species across several vegetation zones. Aloe cultivation and propagation is discussed too, providing insight into optimum growing conditions, gardening styles and plants that flourish in different regions.

A feature on medicinal, cosmetic and culinary uses reveals the special properties of these intriguing plants.

Whether you are starting a garden, redeveloping one or simply looking to expand your knowledge of these fascinating succulents, Aloes in Southern Africa will prove an invaluable guide.


About the Author:

Gideon Smith is South Africa’s most prolific author on succulent plants. He has authored and co-authored numerous scientific papers, as well as popular works such as Gardening with Succulents (2005), Cacti and Succulents (2006) and First Field Guide to Aloes (2003).

He is chief director for Biosystematics Research and Biodiversity Collections at the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI).


Contents:

Preface

Part One: Aloes and their kin
Introducing aloes
The family Aloaceae and its genera
Understanding aloes
Aloes and extreme environments

Part Two: Aloes by habitat
Desert and semi-desert
Fynbos (Cape shrublands)
Thicket (valley bushveld)
Tropical, subtropical and Afromontane forests
Grasslands of the Highveld and central interior Savanna (bushveld)
Non-discriminating aloe species

Part Three: Gardening with aloes
General principles for growing aloes
Aloes and gardening styles
Growing aloes in containers
Growing and propagating aloes

Part Four: Uses of aloes
References
Index


Preface by Gideon F. Smith & Braam vanWyk:

In this book we present selected aspects of the intriguing biology of members of the genus Aloe in Africa and beyond. Commonly known as aloes, we describe and illustrate how they function at both the individual and environmental levels. We also refer to some of their closest and more distant relatives.

The intention is to satisfy the curiosity of both the amateur and professional biologist by telling the stories behind these fascinating species and their kin. We deliberately also refer to other representatives that are included in the family of Aloe relatives (rather than the Aloe family).

But this book is predominantly about aloes; stately, sometimes miniature, succulent plants that vividly define the landscapes in which they occur - perhaps the ultimate group of African flagship plants. We also discuss a number of the most common species likely to be encountered in South Africa.

Once equipped with knowledge about aloes, the urge to grow them successfully becomes all-consuming. One of the main reasons is because gardening with succulents in general, but aloes in particular, allows the gardener to break free from the chore of seasonally replacing thick drifts of annuals planted in a neatly raked bed.

The predominantly chilli-red and vibrant orange hues of aloe flowers contrast with the verdant greens of their sword-shaped leaves and the surrounding plants. This combination creates a peaceful, calming unity in the garden. In a rockery, or any garden for that matter, shrubby, tree-like aloes form an impressive backbone.

Aloes respond positively to the vernacular African landscape - its prevalent climate and the earthy, roughshod hardscaping accessories created from local materials, like natural rocks and pieces of wood. These sturdy plants embody the creative allure of the African savanna (bushveld) and karroid landscapes, and the satisfaction that comes from creating a natural, indigenous garden.

Part of the book is dedicated to the cultivation and propagation of aloes, and numerous tips are given on how to make the most of these plants in human-made environments. Finally, we look at the many uses of aloes today, from contemporary and traditional medicinal preparations to their use in cosmetics, foodstuffs and in the rural environment.

To the team at Struik who worked with us in creating the book - Pippa Parker, editors Helen deVilliers and Gill Gordon, and Janice Evans who designed the book - we extend our grateful thanks.


Desert and Semi-desert:

The term 'desert' is not widely used to describe the often exceptionally dry western parts of southern Africa. For example, we virtually never hear reference to the 'Richtersveld Desert', just the Richtersveld. Even the Karoo, of which there are several distinct regions, is not called the Karoo Desert, despite the word being derived from the Khoekhoe word 'garo' meaning 'land of thirst'.

In South Africa, semi-desert conditions are often described as 'karroid' conditions. Locally, 'desert' tends to be reserved for arid and hyper-arid sandy regions, like the Kalahari and the Namib, respectively. Note, however, that because of its often tree-dominated vegetation cover, the so-called Kalahari Desert (covering most of southern and central Botswana) is best described as savanna, as is shown in the map on page 55.

In southern Africa, desert-like areas occur in both winter- and summer-rainfall regions, as well as in regions that receive sparse rainfall at any time of the year. The winter-rainfall dry areas (or deserts) are probably the best-known, thanks to the mass displays of spring wildflowers in Namaqualand (see box on Mediterranean climate, page 48).

The most common contributors to this floral showcase belong to the Asteraceae, the daisy family, while among the succulents, the Mesembryanthemaceae (vygie family) contributes a significant number of species. However, over 20 per cent of southern Africa's Aloe species occur here.


Examples:

Aloe dichotoma

This is perhaps the best known of all the tree aloes as it often occurs in photographs depicting the Namaqualand or Namibian landscape. It is a single-trunked species with a large canopy that often looks over-sized. The canopy consists of a few to many branches, each of which supports a small rosette of dull green leaves that contrast sharply with the butter-yellow flowers produced in winter. It is not the easiest of the tree aloes to keep alive outside its natural habitat.


Aloe ferox

These stately, mostly single-stemmed aloes are found in the arid karroid interior. The leaves are distinctly boat-shaped and gracefully curve upwards or outwards. Stems are typically clothed in a skirt of dry leaves. Flowers are arranged into long candles, carried in winter. Flower colour varies considerably, from red through orange, pinkish, to yellow and even white. The thick, juicy leaves contain several compounds that are used in the cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries.


Index:

Aalwyn 7
Adansonia digitata 7
Acacia 83
Afromontane forest 73
AgaveS, 10, 22,23,36,37,
38, 79
Agave americana 31, 49
Agave attenuate 113
Agave gigantensis 31
Agave xylonacantha 10, 31
air humidity 106
Albizia 83
Aloaceae 7, 15, 17
Aloe 7,8, 9, 10, 11, 15, 18,
57, 73,83, 96, 105
Aloe family key 26-27
Aloe genera 17-21
Aloe characters 10-11
cold tolerance 49-52
fire tolerance 44-48
intelligence 52-53
life span 12
'masting' 52-53
aloe parts
anchorage 29
flowers 38-41
fruits 38-41
inflorescences 38-41
leaves 29-37
roots 29
seeds 42-43
Aloe aculeata31
Aloe affinis 84
Aloeafricana3, 68, 135
Aloe alooides 74
Aloe angelica 82, 84
Aloe arborescens 2, 6, 17,39,
43, 96, 97, 102, 104, 109,
110, 112, 122, 125, 128
Aloearistata 123
Aloe barberae 13, 14, 30, 73,
74,104, 112, 123
Aloe bowiea 11
Aloe branddraaiensis 85
Aloe brevifolia 37, 46, 54,
64, 107
Aloe broomii 41
Aloe bulbicaulis 11, 39
Aloe bulbillifera 11
Aloe burgersfortensis 85
Aloe camperi 96, 98, 109
Aloe candelabrum 86
Aloe castanea 83, 87
Aloe chabaudii Q7, 113
Aloe chortolirioides 47
Aloe ciliaris 69
Aloe commixta 46, 64, 107
Aloe compressa31
Aloe comptonii 15, 65, 222
Aloe cryptopoda 38, 88, 90,
125
Aloe davyana 78, 98, 107, 109,
128,129, 232
Aloe dichotoma 12, 13, 14, 30,
56, 58, 59
Aloe dorotheae 34, 36
Aloe ecklonis 77
Aloe excelsa 88
Aloe feroxl, 17,31, 42, 43,
52, 58, 59, 86, 202,127,
127, 128, 129, 230, 232
Aloe fibrosa 36
Aloe forbesii 37
Aloe globuligemma 10, 30, 89
Aloe gracili flora 78
Aloe grandidentata 99
Aloe greattieadii 78
Aloe greenii 68
Aloe haemanthifolia 30, 36,
46,107
Aloe immaculata 89
Aloe lineata 69, 106
Aloe littoralis 32, 125, 134
Aloe lutescens 90
Aloe maculata 100, 109
Aloe marlothii 2, 4, 8, 9, 12,
31, 41, 43, 47, 47, 52, 88,
90,93, 203, 110, 124,
128, 131
Aloe micracantba 30, 46
Aloe microstigma 43, 44
Aloe ortholopha 121
Aloe parvibracteata 41, 91
Aloe peglerae 45, 78, 223
Aloe perfoliata 46, 54, 65, 227
Aloe petn'cola 119
Aloe petrophila 46
Aloe pictifolia 109
Aloe pillansii 48, 60
Aloe plicatilis30, 36, 46, 47,
66,107
Aloe pluridens70, 133
Aloe polyphylla 50, 51, 79, 107
Aloe porphyrostachys 10, 41
Aloe pratensis 80
Aloe pretoriensis 91
Aloe pruinosa 92
Aloe ramosissima 60, 62
Aloe rupestris 72, 75
Aloe speciosa 40, 67, 70
Aloe spectabilis 93
/4/oe sp/cata 43, 55, 93
Aloe spinosissima 114
Aloe 'Spiraal' 40
Aloe squarrosa 10, 28
Aloestriata71, 113, 119
Aloe striatula 49, 80, 107, 223
Aloe succotrina 66
Aloe suffulta 109
Aloe supra foliata 31,81
Aloe suzannae 11
Aloe tenuior71, 118
Aloe thraskii 49, 68, 75, 206
Aloe transvaalensis 94, 107
Aloe vanbalenii 35, 36
Aloe vanrooyenii 83, 95
Aloe variegataW, 51, 61,
119, 224
Aloe Vera 101, 207, 127, 128
Aloe verecunda 46, 81
Aloe vossii 38
Aloe wickensii 90, 95
Aloe zebrina 94
annual 12
anthocyanins 36
Arabian Peninsula 9, 101
Asphodelaceae 15
Asteraceae 57
Astroloba 18
Astroloba foiliosa 19
Astroloba rubri flora 11,
19,36
Astroloba spiralis 19
baobab 7
bergaalwyn 128
biennial 12
'bitter aloes' 128
Burgersfort 83, 85
bushveld (see also savanna)
54, 83
'Cape aloes' 128
Cape Floristic Region 45, 63
Cape shrublands
(seefynbos)
'Capensis' 63
chemotypes 16
Chortolirion 19
Chortolirion angolense 19, 47
classification 15, 16
coastal thicket (see a/so
thicket) 97
commensalism 25
companion plants
(see nurse plants)
Crassula rupestris 8
Crassulaceae 63
cross-pollination 121
cultivars 16
Cussonia spicata 67
cuttings 122
daisy family 57
desert 54, 57
diseases 124-125
Doryanthes 11
drainage 109
Drakensberg 49
East Africa 98
Eastern Cape 20, 30, 30, 45,
49, 52,67
ecotypes 16, 107
Ericaceae 63
Euphorbia mauritanica 8
fire 45-48
forest 54, 73
Frithia pulchra 33
frost 49, 50-51, 52
frost tolerance 49-52, 108
Furcraea22, 23
fynbos 45, 46, 48, 54, 62, 63,
97, 100
Fynbos Biome 45, 63
Gasteria20, 32, 61
Gasteria acinacifolia 20, 32
Gasteria armstrongii 30
Gasteria distichia 30
Gasteria maculata 30, 32
Geraniaceae 63
germination 120-121
grass aloes 77, 81, 83, 109
grassland 54, 76, 97, 98, 99, 100
Great Escarpment 73, 76
Great Karoo 45, 49
growing aloes 105-109
habitat 54, 55
Haworthia 18, 19, 21,32,33
Haworthia attenuata 33
Haworthia fasciata 21
Haworthia glabrata 21, 33
Haworthia maughanii 33
Haworthia maxima 33
Haworthia radula 33
Haworthia truncata 33
Hesperaloe 24
Hexandria Monogynia 15
Hesperaloe parviflora 24
Highveld 49, 76
ice formation 50-51
identification key 26-27
irrigation 105
Joshua tree 24
Kalahari 57
Kalanchoe sexangularis 34
Karoo 57
karroid vegetation 99
Kniphofia spp 30
KwaZulu-Natal 20, 45, 49, 52, 67
Larrea tridentata 12
leaf spines 31
Lesotho 49, 50, 51, 76, 79,80
light 108
Liliaceae 15
Linnaeus, Carl 15
Lomatophyllum 9, 11, 18, 40
maculate aloe 31, 84, 85, 89,
94,95,123
Madagascar 9, 18, 31
Mascarene Islands 9, 18
Mediterranean climate 48, 63,
65,106
Mesembryanthemaceae 57, 63
Mexico 22, 24
mimicry 33
monocarpic 12
Mpumalanga 49
mutualism 25
Namaqualand 57, 58
Namib Desert 57
non-discriminating aloes 96
nurse plants 43, 120
parasitism 25
perennial 7, 12
pests 124-125
Poellnitzia 18, 36
polycarpic 7, 12
pot plants 115-117
Pretoria National Botanical Garden 6
prickles 37
propogation 123
Proteaceae 63
quiver tree 12
rainfall 105
repotting 115
Restionaceae 63
Richtersveld 57
SANBI 6
Sanseveria hyacinthoides 32
savanna 54, 57, 82, 83, 97,
98, 99,100
Sedum sediforme 8
seeds 43, 119-121
Sekhukhuneland 83
semi-desert 54, 57
Senecio rowleyanus 120
shade 108, 109
Skirt aloe 74
Socotra 9, 28
soil 109, 116
soil conservation 130-131
Sonoran Desert 12
South America 22
southwestern Cape 19
Soutpansberg 84
spines 37
spotted aloe (see also maculate aloe) 84
subtropical east coast 97, 98, 100
subtropical forest 73
Succulent Karoo 48
succulents 7, 22
sunlight 108
Swaziland 31
symbiosis 25
taxonomy 16
temperature 106
thicket 54, 67, 97, 100
thorns 37
Tree aloe 74
tropical forest 73
USA 24
uses of aloes 126-129
valley bushveld (see thicket)
vygie family (see also Mesembryanthemaceae 57
waaier-aalwyn 46
watering 105
window-leaves 33
Witwatersrand 76
Worcester-Robertson
Karoo 19, 30
Xanthorrhoeaceae 15
Yucca 24
Yucca brevifolia 24
Yucca desmetiana 24
Yucca elephantipes 25
Zimbabwe 19