Threatened plant - Aloe dominella

2015-08-20 06:00

THE vibrant Aloe dominella is a succulent plant that propagates on the rocky outcrops and hill slopes of central KwaZulu-Natal. It ranges from Escourt and Mooi River to Vryheid.

The stems grow in tight groups, hidden by dried leaves, and are about 150 mm long. The leaves are dull green, many, upright, expanding and gradually narrowing over a long distance. The inflorescence are simple, about 350 mm long, and capitate (like the head of a pin).

The flowers lack a stalk and are about 40 mm long and 80 mm wide. They are yellow, sweetly scented and capitate. The bracts, which are reduced leaf or leaflike structures at the base of a flower, are egg-shaped and gradually narrowing to a long point, thin, dry and brown in colour. The perianth (corolla) is bright yellow, 18 mm long, and blunt to club-shaped. It is supported on a special stalk at the base.

Aloe dominella flowers from June to October. The flowering usually occur after fires followed by rain. Aloe dominella is associated with Aloe chortolirioides var . woolliana in terms of growth conventions, such as the growth of stems in constricted groups and size of the leaves’ rosettes. However, A. dominella is distinguished from A. chortolirioides var. woolliana by its flower size and colour. A. chortolirioides var. woolliana produces pinkish-reddish flowers about 40 mm long, while Aloe dominella produces yellow flowers of about 18 mm long.

— MCF.

• If you have seen these naturally occurring plants, contact Suvarna Parbhoo, Crew programme: KZN node manager at

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