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Aloe littoralis (Mopane Aloe)

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Scientific Name

Aloe littoralis Baker

Common Names

Aloe of the Shore, Luanda Tree Aloe, Mopane Aloe, Mountain Aloe, Sea-side Aloe, Windhoek Aloe

Synonyms

Aloe angolensis, Aloe rubrolutea, Aloe schinzii

Scientific Classification

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

Parentage

Native to the arid regions in Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.

Description

Aloe littoralis is a succulent that forms a rosette at the top of an upright, usually unbranched stem densely bearded with old dry leaves. It grows up to 13.3 feet (4 m) tall. Leaves are lance-shaped, up to 26 inches (65 cm) long, up to 5.2 inches (13 cm) wide, and with reddish-brown teeth along the margins. They are grey-green to yellowish-green and sometimes tinged red. On young plants, the leaves sometimes have white spots. Flowers are dull rose-red to bright red, yellowish at the mouth, and appear in late fall to early winter on a branched inflorescence that rises to 4 feet (1.2 m) above the rosette.

The specific epithet "littoralis" derives from Latin "littus," meaning "shore" and refers to the location where the species was first found in Angola.

Photo by Martin Heigan

How to Grow and Care

Light: When growing Aloes indoors, place your plants near a southern or southwest-facing window that gets plenty of bright, indirect light. Outdoors, provide light shade, especially during the hottest parts of the day.

Soil: 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.

Hardiness: Aloe littoralis can tolerate temperatures as low as 25 to 50 °F (-3.9 to 10 °C), USDA hardiness zones 9b to 11b.

Watering: These succulents do need regular watering but are very tolerant of drought conditions for short periods. Water deeply, but only when the soil is dry. Cut back on watering during the winter months.

Fertilizing: Aloes generally do not require fertilizer but may benefit from the extra nutrients.

Repotting: These plants are not particularly fast-growing and will only rarely need repotting. Repot them in the spring in a container a few inches larger in diameter every few years to keep it from becoming rootbound.

Propagation: Propagating Aloe can be done by using the offsets, cuttings, or seeds from a mature plant.

Toxicity: Aloe littoralis is not listed as toxic for people and pets. The flowers and leaves are edible and sometimes harvested from the wild as local food or for medicinal uses.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Aloe.

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