Species of Genus Aloe
The genus aloe belongs to Kingdom Plantae, Division Magnoliophyta, Class Liliopsida, Order Asparagales and Family Asphodelaceae (Classification). Aloe plants look like cactus but they both do not belong to the same family. It comes under the family of lily.
- There are about 400 species under this genus aloe and all these species are medicinal. The most common species is aloe vera. Aloe grows and is cultivated almost in all the regions of the world. Other common species of the genus aloe are aloe wildii, aloe dichotoma, aloe nyeriensis, aloe variegate, aloe aristata, aloe barbadensis, aloe arborescens. All these species are not found in all the regions.
- These plants are also widely used as ornamental plants.
- All these are succulent plants that have a great water retaining capacity and contain herbal medicine in the form of gel inside their leaves.
- Aloe latex and aloe gel are the two basic components of these plants.
- Some of these species have white flecks on upper and lower sides of the leaf. The leaves also have specks on both the edges. The leaves are green or grey in color depending upon the species. They are broader in the centre and narrow towards both the ends. Their green color and the spikes give them an appearance like crocodile tail.
- Some of these species also bear flowers in the summer season. The flowers may grow at the tip of the leaves or at the centre of the plant. The color of the flowers may vary. They may be of red, yellow, pink color. The flowers that grow at the centre are densely clustered.
- All these plants require sandy soil and warm climatic conditions. Hence, they are mostly found in tropical regions where the climate is sunny.
Some Common Species are:
Aloe Vera -
This plant is native to South Africa but is spread largely in almost all the regions of the world. It has thick leaves and is used for many purposes. It blossoms in summer. Its alternate biological name is aloe barbadensis.
Aloe Wildii -
This plant looks like grass, but is somewhat thicker in diameter than grass. It bears flowers which are orange in color. It contains less sap inside as the leaves are not too thick.
Aloe Dichotoma -
This plant has a small and rigid stem on which the leaves grow in cluster. The leaves are small, about two to three inches and are very thin. But, they can survive a long period without water. This plant grows mostly in Namibia and South Africa. It is the most expensive plant of the Aloe Genus because it is rarely found. It bears yellow flowers.
Aloe Nyeriensis -
This plant grows in savannah. The leaves are bright green in color. This is one of the endangered species of aloe. It bears red flowers. This plant also grows in the rocky areas.
Aloe Variegate -
This plant is also called as tiger aloe because it bears light and dark green strips. After the outer leaves are fully grown they become dry and shed off.