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Accepted Scientific Name: Aloe ferox Mill.
Gard. Dict., ed. 8. n. 22. 1768 [16 Apr 1768] Mill.
Aloe ferox Mill.
Gard. Dict., ed. 8. n. 22. 1768 [16 Apr 1768]
- Aloe ferox Mill.
- Aloe perfoliata var. ferox (Mill.) Aiton
- Busipho ferox (Mill.) Salisb.
- Pachidendron ferox (Mill.) Haw.
- Aloe candelabrum A.Berger
- Aloe ferox var. galpinii (Baker) Reynolds
- Aloe galpinii Baker
- Aloe ferox var. incurva Baker
- Aloe ferox var. subferox (Spreng.) Baker
- Aloe subferox Spreng.
- Aloe horrida Haw.
- Aloe muricata Haw.
- Aloe pallancae Guillaumin
- Aloe perfoliata Thunb.
- Aloe perfoliata var. e L.
- Aloe perfoliata var. g L.
- Aloe perfoliata var. z Willd.
- Aloe pseudoferox Salm-Dyck
- Pachidendron pseudoferox (Salm-Dyck) Haw.
- Aloe soccotrina DC.
- Aloe supralaevis Haw.
- Pachidendron supralaeve (Haw.) Haw.
- Aloe supralaevis var. erythrocarpa A.Berger
Description: It is a single stemmed aloe about 2-3 m or taller with the leaves arranged in an apical rosette. Aloe ferox is easily confused with Aloe marlorii. bur the flowers of the later are produced on horizontal branches. This species will also hybridise with any other aloe flowering at the same time and many “Aloe ferox” in cultivation are hybrid.
Stem: Simple or ralelybranched above the base, occasionally reaching a length of 5 m and a diameter of 10-15 cm.
Rosette: with 30–60 leaves, densely aggregated at stems tip. The old leaves remain after they have dried, forming a persistent "petticoat" on the stem which give it a ragged untidy appearance if not removed.
Leaves: 50-60 per rosette, lanceolate, very rigid in texture, shallowly channelled,, pungent at the apex, arcuate-erect to spreading with the leaf tips curving slightly downwards, dull green or grey green, sometimes with a slightly blue look to them and often with a reddish-brown tinge under stress condition. Each leaf can be 50-100 cm long, x 65-150 mm wide. Leaves are furnished with copious dark brown deltoid-cuspidate prickles 3-6 mm long along the margins and often scattered on the leaf surfaces, especially on the lower surface. Young plants tend to be very spiny.
Inflorescences: The inflorescence is a tall candelabra-like branched panicle, with 5-12 erect cylindrical or narrowly conical dense racemes, each carrying a large spike-like head of many flowers up to 1 m tall..
Flowers: Showy, tubular, subclavate or ventricose and about 3 cm long, yellow-orange to bright red with inner petals tipped with white. The stamens, protruding from the mouth, are dark orange. There are also pure white or pure yellow forms, bracts ovate-acute, 7-11 x 3-6 mm, 3-many-nerved.; outer segments connate in lower third, inner segments free but dorsally adnate to outer in lower third; pedicels 3-8 mm long. Stamens and style bright red, anthers exserted 9-25 mm. Aloe ferox are pollinated by birds but honey bees also play a role in the pollination. Blooms are self-sterile and only a few ﬂowers per raceme mature simultaneously. The stamens produce pollen in the morning and wither in the afternoon, whereas the style is exerted on the second day of anthesis.
Blooming season: Winter, but in colder country this may be delayed until spring.
Fruit: 20-23 x 10-12 mm, yellowish grey-brown, many seeded.
Seeds: Almost black, about 5.0 x 3.0 x 0.6 mm, broadly winged.
Chromosome number: 2n = 14
Cultivation and Propagation: It is not a demanding species and usually does not give many problems in cultivation. It can be grown in a cool-warm glasshouse and put outside for the summer. In warm climates it is also an excellent garden specimen plant and is adaptable to many conditions. It needs full sun to filtered sun. It should be soaked and allowed to dry out between waterings in summer. It should be given very light watering in winter too, still allowing the compost to dry out in between. Watorlogging should be always avoided. It grows much better outdoors in spring and summer, it is also perfect for the bright windowsill. Grow it in light, fertile, well-drained soils, with a slightly acidic pH (5-6). Avoid any frost.
Maintenance: Removal of old flower stalks. During the winter months, the plants should be grown cool to initiate flower development (about 5-10°C )
Propagation: Aloe ferox does not produce suckers but can be propagated by seed and planting of the tops of old plants. Sow seed in a well drained medium in shallow trays and cover lightly with sand or the seed will blow away. Once the seeds begin to germinate, keep moist but watch out for overwatering as the seedlings could rot. Transplant into small pots once they are about 3-4cm high (approximately 6 months). Plant regeneration (micropropagation) from root and embryo tissue is successful as well.
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