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Aloe Aculeata

dnaoodb: professional biology database , biology encyclopedia

in biology, Aloe Aculeata (Alias:ngopanie and sekope and red hot poker aloe Latin:Aloe aculeata Pole-Evan ) is an Aloe species that is native to the Limpopo valley and Mpumalanga in South Africa along with southern and central Zimbabwe and Mozambique. It grows on rocky outcrops in grassland and dry bushveld. Aculeata ("prickly") refers to the spines on the leaf's surface and the teeth on its margins.

The native range of this species is S. Zimbabwe to Limpopo. It is a succulent perennial and grows primarily in the desert or dry shrubland biome.

Aloe aculeata is a solitary rosette-forming succulent that can grow up to 70cm high in ideal conditions. In its natural habitat, it survives severe drought-like conditions.

Scientific classification

Aloe Aculeata,Ngopanie,Sekope,Red Hot Poker Aloe
Aloe Aculeata Pole-evan
Protection level:
Kingdom Plantae
Class Dicotyledon
Aloe Aculeata
Mode Of Reproduction:
Mode Of Reproduction:
Mode Of Reproduction:
Leaf Cutting


This succulent, stemless aloe forms a single rosette of up to 1 m high and wide. The long, relatively broad leaves are up to 120 mm wide at their base. The upper parts are curved inwards, which gives the rosette a rounded appearance. The leaf margins are armed with reddish brown, triangular teeth. The upper and lower surfaces of the leaves are covered in distinctive thorns. Each thorn originates from a thick base, which in some forms is a lighter colour than the rest of the leaf, giving it a dotted appearance.

The inflorescences vary in number, from young to older plants, with younger plants only having one, but in older plants, it can form between three and four branches. Each raceme (group of flowers) is long and narrow, gradually tapering towards the tip. The tubular flowers are up to 40 mm long, varying from yellow to reddish orange. Colour can vary from uniform to bicoloured, last mentioned usually orange in the bud stage and yellow when open. Flowering takes place between May and July. The flowers are followed by seed that are carried in oblong, green capsules of approximately 6 mm long and 3 mm in diameter.

Distribution And Habitat

Aloe aculeata can be found in several areas in south Africa (Northern Province, Mpumalanga) and it extends into Zimbabwe.

Habitat: It is found in rocky areas in grassland and open bushveld.


Aloe aculeata is relatively easy to cultivate under a wide variety of climatic conditions provided it is planted in a well-drained situation given adequate water but not over-watered.

Soil: Grow it in an open sandy-gritty cactus compost. Needs good drainage.

Pots: It needs a relatively shallow pot to accommodate its fibrous roots and provide a very good drainage. It may stay in the same pot for many years.

Watering: This species requires regular water in summer, but is dormant and needs very little water in winter. Keep dry in winter or when night temperatures remain below 50°F (10°C). Water it less than average if in bigger pots.

Special need: Provide very good ventilation. Nearly all problems occur as a result of overwatering and poor ventilation, especially when weather conditions are dull and cool or very humid.

Fertilization: Light fertilizer seems to boost its growth whenever additional water is given.

Feed them during the growing season with a fertilizer specifically formulated for cactus and succulents (high potash fertilizer with a dilute low nitrogen), including all micro nutrients and trace elements diluted to ½ the strength recommended on the label. They thrive in poor soils and need a limited supplies of fertilizer to avoid the plants developing excess vegetation, which is easily attacked by fungal diseases.

Exposure: It enjoys light-shade. It may be grown in full sun too but protect in summer from afternoon sun, and avoid reflected heat. It will do its best with some sun and become stressed with inadequate light which could result in poor growth and unnatural shape. Leaves given ideal light conditions (direct sunlight) turn a lovely red and orange, they tend also to turn red with low water and cold situations, a sign generally associated with stress.

Hardiness: It likes warmth, recommended minimum winter temperature 41°F (5°C), however plants kept perfectly dry can can survive low temperatures, approx. 28°F (-2°C) for short periods, but for safe cultivation it is best to avoid freezing temperatures.

Use: It can be cultivated outdoors in raised beds, terraces if sheltered from winter rain. It grows much better outdoors in spring and summer, it is also adapt for the bright windowsill.

Maintenance: Removal of old flower stalks.

Pest and diseases: Occasionally these plants are infested by scale and aphids, but all known garden pests can be kept to a minimum by simply ensuring optimal growing conditions and healthy plants.


The genus name, aloe, is derived from the Greek, alsos which refers to the ‘bitter juice’ found in the leaves of these plants. It can be traced back earlier to the Arabic word alloeh, or the Hebrew word allal, both meaning ‘bitter’. The specific name aculeata, means ‘prickly’, which refers to the leaf surface. The genus Aloe within South Africa, consisted of 155 species. Recent genetic studies have, however,  have led to certain re-classifications, and some plants formerly in the genus Aloe, have now been changed to Aloiampelos, Aloidendron and Aristaloe.


Propagation is by seed, as it seldom offsets. Seeds must be sown as fresh as possible. The best time for sowing would be in the spring or summer when temperatures are warm. Use coarse, well-drained sandy soil and cover seeds lightly, then keep moist. Cover the seeds with a fine layer of grit and water from below with a with a long-lasting fungicide, as seedlings are prone to damping off, a fungus that eventually kills the young plants. For the 1-2 weeks cover the pots with a sheet of glass/clear perspex to keep the humidity levels high. Remove the glass and replace it with light shade-cloth and mist once or twice a day for the next two weeks after which most seeds should have germinated.

Main Value

Although no specific use is listed for aloe vera, it is one of the most widely used medicinal plants in the world, both traditionally and commercially. Aloe produces two substances that are used, gel and latex. The gel is a clear, jelly-like substance present on the inner part of the leaf. The latex comes from under the skin of the leaves and is yellow in color. In some products, gels and latex are used.

Aloe vera gel is also used in a variety of commercial skin care products, from medicinal treatments for burns and other skin irritations, to cosmetics and hand sanitizers. Aloes are used around the world as garden motifs as well as for various medicinal purposes.

Protection Status

This species is not threatened (LC) and is protected in Kruger National Park.