Aloes of the
Huntington Gardens

Photos by Michael L. Charters

The Huntington Gardens in Pasadena maintains one of the largest and finest collections of aloes outside of Africa. The succulent genus Aloe is native to Africa, ranging from the Cape Province of South Africa to Madagascar, the Arabian peninsula and islands off the coast of Africa. The APG II system of plant classification published in 2003 by the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group places the genus in the family Asphodelaceae, a placement which is reflected by the Plants of Southern Africa Checklist, however the International Plant Names Index still lists aloes as being in the lily family (Liliaceae), and this is apparently still more widely accepted. Some authorities have also placed it in a family of its own, the Aloaceae. Most aloes are characterized by thick, fleshy leaves and yellow to red tubular flowers on leafless stems. Some aloes are stemless with the rosettes growing at ground level, while others produce a tall stalk either branched or unbranched which may become treelike. Aloe species are frequently grown as garden plants and many are highly prized by succulent collectors. They have been known for a long time to have medicinal qualities most particularly for external usage, and their antiseptic and antibiotic properties have been particularly noted. Their utilization in internal and alternative medicines has however been less well documented. Aloes have become well adapted to harsh climates, and can thrive in many different types of habitats such as mountains, grasslands, deserts and beaches. They propagate vegetatively and by wind dispersal. There are between 300 and 400 species in Africa and adjacent regions, with 170 species in South Africa alone. Aloes are often confused with agaves, but the latter have fibrous leaves. The genus name Aloe was assigned by Linnaeus in 1753, however the plant has been known for thousands of years, featuring in bushman rock art and being familiar to the Greeks as early as 300 B.C. I have read that the name Aloe is derived from the Greek alsos referring to the bitter sap of the leaves, and that this name probably derives either from the Arabic alloeh or the Hebrew allal both meaning 'bitter.' Due to recent taxonomic changes, a number of plants which are signed as separate species at the Huntington Gardens have been grouped together under one species name, and this is indicated in the descriptive text. Some of the names listed below will as a result eventually disappear as separate species name.

This website is limited strictly to the genus Aloe, and does not include any of the other common aloe-like African succulents such as Gasteria, Bulbine, Kniphofia, and Haworthia. I have at least some photos of all of the 117 species listed below and will be adding them to the site as well as botanical information as time goes on.

Aloe aculeata
Aloe acutissima
Aloe affinis
Aloe africana
Aloe alooides
Aloe andongensis
Aloe angelica
Aloe arborescens (= A. mutabilis)
Aloe aristata
Aloe babatiensis
Aloe ballii
Aloe barbarae (= A. bainesii)
Aloe bellatula
Aloe berhana
Aloe branddraaiensis
Aloe brevifolia
Aloe broomii
Aloe buhrii
Aloe bulbillifera
Aloe burgerfortensis
Aloe bussei
Aloe cameronii
Aloe camperi
Aloe castanea
Aloe chabaudii
Aloe ciliaris
Aloe classenii
Aloe comptonii
Aloe conifera
Aloe cremnophila
Aloe cryptopoda
Aloe cyrtophylla
Aloe descoingsii
Aloe dichotoma
Aloe diolii
Aloe divaricata
Aloe dolomitica
Aloe dorotheae
Aloe dyeri
Aloe elgonica
Aloe ellenbeckii
Aloe esculenta
Aloe excelsa
Aloe ferox (= A. candelabrum)
Aloe fibrosa
Aloe fleurentinorum
Aloe fosteri
Aloe framesii
Aloe gariepensis
Aloe gerstneri
Aloe glauca
Aloe globuligemma
Aloe gracilis
Aloe graminicola
Aloe greatheadii (= A. daveyana, A. barbertoniae,
A. verdoorniae)
Aloe greenii
Aloe harlana
Aloe hendrickxii
Aloe hereroensis
Aloe hildebrantdtii
Aloe humilis
Aloe imalotensis
Aloe intermedia
Aloe isaloensis
Aloe jacksonii
Aloe jucunda
Aloe juvenna
Aloe karasbergensis
Aloe khamiesensis
Aloe krapohliana
Aloe krausii
Aloe lateritia
Aloe lineata
Aloe littoralis
Aloe longistyla
Aloe lutescens
Aloe macroclada
Aloe marlothii (= A. spectabilis)
Aloe massawana
Aloe megalacantha
Aloe melanacantha
Aloe microstigma
Aloe millotii
Aloe mudenensis
Aloe nobilis
Aloe ortholopha
Aloe parvibracteata
Aloe parvula
Aloe peglerae
Aloe percrassa
Aloe petricola
Aloe petrophila
Aloe pictifolia
Aloe plicatilis
Aloe pluridens
Aloe porphyrostachys
Aloe pratensis
Aloe prinslooi
Aloe rabaiensis
Aloe rauhii
Aloe reitzii
Aloe rivae
Aloe rivieri
Aloe rubroviolacea
Aloe sabaea
Aloe saponaria
Aloe schomeri
Aloe secundiflora
Aloe sinkatana
Aloe somaliensis
Aloe speciosa
Aloe striata
Aloe succotrina
Aloe suffulta
Aloe suprafoliata
Aloe suzannae
Aloe swynnertonii
Aloe tenuior
Aloe tomentosa
Aloe tororoana
Aloe ukambensis
Aloe vacillans
Aloe vanbalenii
Aloe vaombe
Aloe verdoorniae
Aloe virens
Aloe vogtsii
Aloe wickensii
Aloe X principis
Aloe zebrina (=A. ammophila, A. transvaalensis)

Reference material

© M.L. Charters, Sierra Madre, CA.  2007
The photographs contained in this website may not be reproduced without the express consent of the author.
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