Colour, nectar and medicine from aloes

2008-06-05 00:00

Aloe arborescens is part of the multi-stemmed group of aloes. It has large blue-grey succulent leaves and reaches up to two to three metres high with beautiful spikes of brilliant red or orange. Other colour forms are pure yellow and an unusual bi-coloured form of orange and red. Also known as the Krantz aloe, it flowers profusely during the winter months from May to July.

Aloe arborescens has been planted around kraals to form domestic stock enclosures (old kraals can still be seen today with the aloe persisting ). The Krantz aloe can also be situated on a bank to help control erosion. Cuttings of this aloe are sold in muthi shops and it is grown in domestic gardens as a convenient first aid treatment for burns and abrasions. The leaf gel is also used as a tonic and an ingredient in cosmetic products.

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