T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Aloe polyphylla (Spiral aloe)

Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Xanthorrhoeaceae
Subfamily: Asphodeloideae
Genus: Aloe
Species: A. polyphylla
Binomial name: Aloe polyphylla
Common name: Spiral aloe

Aloe polyphylla is endemic to the Kingdom of Lesotho in the Drakensberg mountains in South Africa, where it clings to rocky crevices and well-drained scree slopes. It is Lesotho's national flower. It is a stemless aloe whose wide, serrated, gray-green leaves grow in a very distinctive five-pointed spiral pattern. The spiral can be in a clockwise or in an anti-clockwise directions.
The leaves have sharp, dark leaf-tips. It will grow up to a metre in width. It rarely flowers but when it does it in Spring. Red-to-pink flowers are borne on branched inflorescences.
Unfortunately in its homeland of southern Africa it is an endangered species that is threatened with extinction. There buying or collecting the plant is a criminal offence.




Aloe polyphylla 3". Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons