Aloe striata Haw.
Common names: Coral Aloe (English); Blouaalwyn (Afrikaans)
The leaves of this species lack the spines common on most Aloe and instead have a smooth attractive pinkish margin without any teeth.
Aloe striata is a stemless aloe with blue green leaves. Attractive coral red flowers are borne during the winter months on tall flat-topped inflorescences.
Derivation of name and historical aspects
Aloe from the Greek word for the dried juice of aloe leaves. The name "striata" refers to the longitudinal lines on the leaves of this species.
This species is comprised of three subspecies; the typical subsp. striata which is discussed here, as well as the two less well known subsp. karasbergensis and subsp. kommagasensis - which are both more difficult to cultivate than the subsp. striata and consequently seldom seen in gardens. The subsp. striata is widely distributed over the Eastern & South Western Cape province. It grows in stony soils on rocky hillsides in arid areas near the coast and the drier inland karoo areas.
As with most aloes, the plants provide nectar during winter which is an important source of food for the attractive sunbirds and many other nectivorous birds during the cooler period of the year when food is not readily available.
Growing Aloe striata
Aloe striata is a popular and most rewarding garden plant. It is relatively easy to cultivate under a wide variety of climatic conditions provided it is planted in a well-drained situation in full sun and given adequate water but not over-watered. It can withstand extreme frost and prolonged drought. This species is not only very showy when in flower but also during the rest of the year on account of its attractive foliage.
Propagation is from seed which germinates easily if sown in well drained soil and covered lightly with fine sand. Seedlings grow fast, reaching flowering size in three to four years. This species, as with most Aloe species, is subject to attack by snout weevil, white scale and aloe rust, although healthy specimens don't fall prey to pests and disease as easily as stressed plants do. These maladies are best treated symptomatically when they occur and your local nursery or garden centre should be able to advise on products suitable for your particular situation.
- Bornman, H & Hardy D.S. 1971. Aloes of the South African Veld. Voortrekkerpers, Johannesburg.
- Jackson, W.P.U. 1990. Origins and Meanings of Names of South African Plant Genera. Ecolab, University of Cape Town.
- Jeppe, B. 1969. South African Aloes. Purnell, Cape Town.
- Reynolds, G.W. 1982. The Aloes of South Africa. A.A. Balkema, Cape Town.
- Van Wyk, B-E & Smith, G. 1996. Guide to the Aloes of South Africa. Briza Publications, Pretoria.
Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden
Plant Type: Succulent
SA Distribution: Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Western Cape
Soil type: Sandy, Loam
Flowering season: Winter
Flower colour: Red
Aspect: Full Sun
Gardening skill: Easy