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  Alöe ramosissima
(Syn: Aloe dichotoma var. ramosissima)
CACTUSPEDIA       

 


Aloe ramosissima
(A youn specimen)
A great collector’s Aloe that will grow slowly to 1,5 m tall. It somewhat resembles Aloe dichotoma, but without a stem and with more branches. Young trees looks like bonsai. Spectacular!
 

Description: It is a slow growing tree (shrub) type aloe known for its many branches and smooth, white stems, and without a doubt the most profusely branched of all aloes. It will form a succulent bush up to 1.2(-1,8) m tall and wide. Other than this low branching habit and usually smaller leaf size, it is virtually identical to Aloe dichotoma, and some consider it a subspecies of A dichotoma. Eventually forms large mounds.
Stems: As mentioned before, this aloe forms many branches from the ground level. This is the only significant difference between A. dichotoma and A. ramosissima. Branching continues as the plant becomes older, resulting in a dense, almost spherical shrub. The trunk is normally very short smooth and covered with strips of satiny, waxy, powdery silver-pink-brown coloured bark, which acts as a sunscreen in the harsh climate. The plants tends to be longer-stemmed and less branched in more arid areas.
Leaves: The branches end in small rosettes of fleshy, oblong leaves, each up to 200 mm long and 20 mm wide at the base. The leaf colour is glaucous-green or yellowish green, often with a pinkish tinge. The margins have narrow edges with small brownish teeth; base encircling the stem.
Flowers: Bright yellow, comparatively large, tubular; conspicuous, swollen, fleshy on a usually 3-branched short inflorescence, up to 200 mm long..
Blooming season: Winter: Definitely slow to flower, like Aloe dichotoma, takes quite awhile before it blooms, the first flower will be produced when plants gets 1-1,5 m of height (about 10 to 15 old)
Fruits: Shiny and smooth dry capsule that split into three, remaining fused at the base.
Seeds: Narrow, winged, up to about 30 x18 mm.
 

Uses:

  • Unlike A. dichotoma, there are no cultural or medicinal uses associated with the maiden's quiver tree. However, it is known that the very young flower buds can be eaten and taste a little like asparagus. The branches of this plant were used to make small quivers by young men who then gave these quivers to young ladies as a sign of their affection.

  • The young flower buds can be eaten and have a similar appearance and taste to asparagus.

Photo of conspecific taxa, varieties, forms and cultivars of Aloe dichotoma.

Photo gallery: Alphabetical listing of Cactus and Succulent pictures published in this site.

Family: Aloaceae (Asphodelaceae)

Scientific name:  Aloe ramosissima Pillans

Common English Names include: Maiden's Quiver Tree

Origin: Southern Africa (Richtersveld), southern Namibia.

Conservation status: Listed in CITES appendix 2.

Habitat: The plants is from the winter rainfall of Southern Africa's Namib Desert and occur in very arid, rocky places on hills and mountains. They rely on winter rains that average around 110 mm or less per annum. It is not at all uncommon in this area for summer temperatures to rise to 46º C and years may pass before any rain falls.

Ecology: The bright yellow flowers produce nectar which is harvested by sugarbirds and ants. Generally, flowers are pollinated by bees and ants. When capsules dry out, the winged seeds are carried by the wind, often landing in bushes where they germinate, making full use of the shelter and shade. Plants eventually outgrow the nurse plant, killing it in the process. The fleshy leaves and stems act as water reservoirs in times of drought and the grey powder on the stems reflect intense heat away from the plant.

Etymology: According to one theory, the genus name Aloe is derived from the Arabic word "alloch" or from the Greek and Hebrew name "allal", meaning bitter. The latter is more acceptable as aloes produce a very bitter sap. The species name dichotoma (dichotomous) means forked and the variety name ramosissima means very much branched, referring to the distinctive growth form.

Synonyms:

  • Aloe dichotoma var. ramosissima

Notes: Taxonomists are now starting to reclassify this plant as a form of Aloe dichotoma


The slow growth rate and relative rarity of the plant make it a particularly sought after and expensive specimen.
 

 


Cultivation:
Winter grower, it is sometimes a tricky grower and prone to rot. Like its closest relative, Aloe dichotoma, it has a very old and almost stressed appearance making this an excellent and sought-after container plant or wonderful landscape specimens in the garden, although it doesn't make a trunk. When growing this Aloe, one must be careful not to overwater. It is best suited to being grown in a pot around here so that it has excellent drainage. If kept dry it is frost resistant and without trouble..

Propagation: Plants grow easily from seeds and once germinated develop rapidly. It is possible to grow plants from cuttings but attempts are very seldom successful and therefore not advisable..The problem is they don't start to form roots until the start of the active growth season, which in begins in September. Seeds are able to survive for many months, but it is better to sow fresh seeds. Use coarse river sand mixed with fine compost, one part compost and two parts sand. Cover seed lightly and keep moist. One must be careful not to over-water and seedlings should be treated with a fungicide to avoid damping off. Seeds of Aloe ramosissima are best sown in autumn.



 

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This old page has been moved! Click the link next on the right to enter the new Enciclopedia of Succulents. We hope you find this new site informative and useful.

Encyclopedia of Succulents