Astroloba spiralis (L.) Uitewaal
Rough Flowered Apicra
Aloe pentagona, Aloe spiralis, Apicra pentagona, Apicra spiralis, Haworthia gweneana, Haworthia spiralis, Tulista spiralis
Astroloba spiralis is a small clump-forming succulent with numerous column-like stems densely covered with smooth, sharp-pointed, deep green leaves crowded in five spiral rows. The stems grow up to 8 inches (20 cm) long, branching from the base, initially erect, gradually becoming decumbent with age. The columns are up to 1.6 inches (4 cm) in diameter. Leaves are thick and fleshy, with an almost flat upper surface and a keeled underside from near the middle to the tip. They are up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) long and 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) wide. The margins and keel are roughened with tiny deltoid teeth.
The flowers appear in fall and are the truly distinguishing feature of this species. They are somewhat hexagonal, up to 0.5 inches (1.3 cm) long, with a rough, white, spongy texture, green lined, and yellow at the tip.
Astroloba spiralis is native to South Africa. It grows on karroid flats and lower slopes in Eastern Cape and Little Karoo in the Western Cape province.
USDA hardiness zone 10b to 11b: from 35 °F (+1.7 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
How to Grow and Care
Astroloba plants are increasingly popular as succulent ornamental due to the extraordinary beauty of their leaf structure. Some have intricate patterns of lines, margins, spots, and raised tubercles on their leaves. Nearly all of them display a crystal-like regularity in their leaf arrangement. This is not always apparent in wild plants, which are usually disfigured by their harsh habitat.
In cultivation, Astrolobas are at their best when provided with some protection from the full sun. However, in a semi-shade environment, with well-drained soil and gentle conditions, Astrolobas can become remarkably beautiful and ornate.
Unfortunately, when conditions are not ideal, occasional random leaves can die, shrivel up and go brown all along their stem. This is unfortunate because much of the beauty of plants comes from the intricate, crystalline pattern of their leaves. However, this disfigurement can be avoided by keeping the plants in optimal, fertile conditions – growing steadily and sheltered from stress.
See more at How to Grow and Care for Astroloba.
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