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Featured Plant

Aloe arborescens


Scientific Name: Aloe arborescens

Common Names: Candelabra aloe

Family: Xanthorrhoeaceae

Plant Type: Succulent

Environment: A sunny spot with well-drained soil or sand.

Bloom: Tall, colorful inflorescence, a spike of flowers ranging from orange to red and yellow, Flowering October through January.

Uses:Works well as an accent or ornamental plant, as well as a hedge

Other: The Aloe family has changed many times due to molecular DNA studies; it has been placed in the Aloeaceae, Liliaceae, and the Asphodelaceae prior to its current family: Xanthorrhoeaceae. In South Africa the flowers are attractive to many kinds of birds, particularly sunbirds


Aloe arborescens can be found:
Garden of Fragrance Bed 11D;

South Africa beds: 27B, 27D;

Succulent beds: 50D, 50E  



Aloe arborescens

One of the Garden’s most striking succulents, the candelabra aloe is a close cousin to the more familiar Aloe vera, a smaller-statured species widely recognized for a myriad of medicinal merits. 

Aloe arborescens is a native of South Africa and enjoys a broad range, from South Africa northeast to Zimbabwe. In South Africa, this species grows in one of the Earth’s five mediterranean climate zones. Like other drought-tolerant plant species from this region, it thrives here in the greater Bay Area with our relatively mild winters and warm summers. All aloes are endemic to the Old World, from Africa east to the Arabian Peninsula. A few species have naturalized around the world, and are now found in the Mediterranean, India, Australia, and in North, Central, and South America. 

Slow growing to 10 feet tall and wide, Aloe arborescens is a reliable bloomer that welcomes visits from hummingbirds and bees. The candelabra aloe flowers in winter, bringing welcome, red clusters to a season when many of our natives and other garden specimens are largely dormant or without floral color. It propagates easily from stem cuttings. 

Like its close cousin, Aloe arborescens is also used in traditional medicine and as a dietary supplement. Widely reported to boost the immune system, cleanse the body, and fight cancer on many home remedy websites, some recent research on this species may suggest that Aloe arborescens may be helpful in supporting patients undergoing chemotherapy for certain types of cancer.

IN BLOOM CONTRIBUTORS: Text by Corey Barnes. Profile by Mona Bourell. Photos by Joanne Taylor and Far Out Flora.