Aloe Species & Hybrids:

ALOE SPECIES & HYBRIDS

The genus, Aloe L., was named and described as such by Carl von Linnaeus in the first volume of the first edition of Species Plantarum in 1753.

Plants of the World Online by Kew lists 585 species in the genus (as of 10-12-21 when this page was last updated). It is a member of the plant family Asphodelaceae with 40 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made on POWO.

My love for Aloe started when a good friend of mine brought me an offset from his grandmother’s Aloe maculata in 2009 (above photo). I was living in a historic mansion (actually a very big house) in Leland, Mississippi at the time that had 5 sunrooms. There was no better Aloe for me to start out with.

Below is a little information about all the Aloe I have grown. You can click on the plant’s name to go to their own pages. They are in alphabetical order.

Aloe arborescens (Torch Aloe) at 12″ tall on 8-18-21, #827-4.

The Aloe arborescens (Torch Aloe) is my most recent Aloe addition. I brought it home from Lowe’s on November 10 in 2020.

Aloe brevifolia-Crocodile Aloe on 6-1-13, #151-7.

I brought the Aloe brevifolia (Crocodile Aloe) home in August in 2012 but I no longer have this plant…

Aloe juvenna (Tiger Tooth Aloe) on 8-18-21, #827-5.

I brought home my first Aloe juvenna (Tiger Tooth Aloe) in 2009 and the one in the above photo in 2017.

Aloe maculata ‘Kyle’s Grandma’, 22″ tall x 38″ wide on 8-3-11, #69-13.

I have taken A LOT of photos of the Aloe maculata (Soap Aloe, ETC.) since 2009 but this one is my favorite. This is the plant that started my love for Aloe. A good friend of mine brought me two offsets from his grandmother’s Aloe in 2009. They grew and produced an abundance of offsets which I potted up and attempted to give away. There were literally hundreds by the time I moved from Mississippi in February 2013. I brought a pot with two offsets in it that I nicknamed “The Twins” when I moved back to Missouri and left the rest behind. I told a friend to give them to the garden club which was going to have some kind of a plant sale. I put the twins in their own pots and they grew and started producing more offsets. Luckily, I have a greenhouse locally I trade plants with that I take my extra plants to.

Aloe vera ‘Mary Botler’ (syn.  Aloe barbadensis), #1 of 3 given to me by Mary Botler in Leland, Mississippi on 9-23-10, #60-1.

I was given three Aloe vera by Mary Botler in 2010 when I was living in Leland, Mississippi. I kept the offsets removed so they grew very big. One grew to 44″ wide. When I moved from Mississippi back to the family farm I brought one of the offsets with me and gave the rest away. Unfortunately, I gave most of my plants up in 2014 and had to start over. I have not brought another Aloe vera home yet but I know where there are plenty.

Aloe x ‘Blue Elf’ on 10-7-13, #193-21.

I brought this Aloe ‘Blue Elf’ home from Lowe’s while living in Mississippi in 2012. I kept it until I reluctantly gave up most of my plants in the summer of 2014. I thought I had another one in 2020, but it turned out to be an Aloe x ‘California’ which didn’t make it through the winter… I still need another ‘Blue Elf’…

Aloe ‘Cha Cha’ at 3 3/4″ tall x 7″ wide on 8-17-21, #826-7.

In 2020, Nico Britsch from Succulent Market told me he would send me some plants if I mentioned him on my site. Well, who could resist a deal like that? This Aloe x ‘Cha Cha was one of the five plants I selected. It is a miniature and it has done very well. I must say, the plants I received from Succulent Market were big healthy plants in 4″ pots.

Aloe x ‘Crosby’s Prolific’ on 8-30-13, #181-20.

I found this Aloe x ‘Crosby’s Prolific’ at Lowe’s in Sedalia on April 20 in 2013. It was a very neat little plant at the time and I didn’t have one so I grabbed it along with quite a few other plants. Well, I had given up around 200 pots (more or less) when I left Mississippi so I was anxious to get more plants. Unfortunately, it is also one of the plants I gave up in 2014 and I haven’t found another replacement locally.

Aloe x ‘Doran Black’ at 2 1/2″ tall x 5 1/2″ wide on 10-6-20, #746-4.

This Aloe x ‘Doran Black’ is another of the five plants I received from Succulent Market in 2020. It has done pretty well even though the leaves have been a bit shriveled. I think it tried to bloom itself to death. It may be one of “those” that is a bit finicky about something that I haven’t quite figured out yet. Of course, it is a miniature…

Aloe x ‘Lizard Lips’ at 5″ tall x 12″ wide on 8-17-21, #826-10.

Aloe x ‘Lizard Lips’ was the first hybrid Aloe I brought home when I lived in Mississippi in 2009. We have had our ups and downs, especially during the winter. But, I kind of figured it out. It does not especially like cool temps or hardly any water during the winter (none is perfectly fine). Even sometimes during the summer, it has looked like crap but it has survived. I did give the original plant up in 2014, but I had taken an offset to the local greenhouse I trade plants with. SO, in 2015, I brought it back home. 🙂 It is quite a clumper and it definitely likes to keep its family close. It is also a prolific bloomer… I have often wondered how a plant that looks so bad can produce so many flowers. Well, you will see what I mean if you click on the name to go to its page.

Aloe x ‘Pink Blush’ on 7-12-14, #231-24.

Well, I didn’t have the Aloe x ‘Pink Blush’ very long before I gave the plants up in 2014. It was a great plant while I had it and even flowered… I would bring home another one if I can find one locally. We do have 3 greenhouses locally plus Lowe’s, Menard’s, and Wal-Mart not that far away. You never know what you will find…

Since I started blogging in 2009 with my first blog (The Mystical Mansion and Garden, the Aloe genus has been in five different families. Aloaceae, Asparagaceae, Asphodelaceae, Liliaceae, and Xanthorrhoeaceae. Mind you, it was placed in and out of each one when someone would come up with some sort of evidence.

FAMILIES ALOE HAVE BEEN IN…

Aloaceae Batsch is a former scientific family name for genera in the Aloe family. It was named and described by August Johann Georg Karl Batsch in Tabula Affinitatum Regni Vegetabilis in 1802. I am somewhat confused… This family was named in 1802 and the Aloe and several other genera were placed in it. Many websites, including Llifle (Encyclopedia of Living Forms) and The SucculentGuide, still lists the Aloe as being a member of this family. They are BOTH usually very up to date.

Asparagaceae Juss. is still an accepted family name, but the Aloe genus is no longer there… It was named and first described by Antione Laurent de Jussieu in Genera Plantarum in 1789. The 2010 version of The Plant List said that Aloe was in this family then.

Asphodelaceae Juss. is the correct and accepted scientific family name which the Aloe genus is in NOW. It was named and described by Antione Laurent de Jussieu in Genera Plantarum in 1789. At first, I thought this was a new family until I checked. I was surprised to read it was created in 1789!!!

Liliaceae Juss. is an accepted family name and the Aloe genus was a member of this family until 2009. It was named and first described by Antione Laurent de Jussieu in Genera Plantarum in 1789. Some websites still use this family for the Aloe genus.

Xanthorrhoeaceae Dumort. was a former family name where the Aloe genus was placed. It was first named and described by Barthélemy Charles Joseph Dumortier in Analyse des Familles de Plantes in 1829. The 2013 version of  The Plant List says the Aloe was in this family at that time. Many websites and lists still say that the Aloe is in this family.

Isn’t it interesting how the same man named three of the families that Aloe has been placed in all in the same publication in the same year?

It would be interesting to know when the Aloe genus was placed in each family and what family Carl von Linnaeus placed it in when he named the Aloe genus in 1753. I have yet to find that answer. None of the above families are that old. I had thought the Aloe was in the Liliaceae family until 2009 when it was reclassified by the Phylogeny Group (the APG III system) and placed it in the Xanthorrhoeaceae family. But that would be weird because the 2010 version of The Plant List included it in the plant family Asparagaceae. But then the 2013 version said it was in the Xanthorrhoeaceae family.  THEN the APG IV system placed the Aloe in the Asphodelaceae (subfamily Asphodeloidae) in 2016. Llifle (Encyclopedia of Living Forms) and the SucculentGuide both say Aloe is currently in the Aloaceae family.

An article in Phytotaxa in 2013 talks about the reclassification of the Aloe genus… It is VERY complex but very informative. The title of the article is (I hope you are sitting down), “A revised generic classification for Aloe (Xanthorrhoeaceae subfam. Asphodelaceae)“. 

Due to Molecular phylogenetic studies, it has been found that Aloe is not monophyletic and should be divided into more defined genera. The Aloe has since been divided into six different genera including Aloe, Aloiampelos, Aloidendron, Aristaloe, Gonialoe, and Kumara. I think they are just getting started and more name changes should be expected.

 

As I mentioned above are 585 accepted species of Aloe listed in Plants of the World Online (which includes a few hybrids as of 10-12-21 when this page was last updated). All have distinguishing characteristics which separate them from other species. There are a number of features they have in common which makes them members of the Aloe genus. The 2013 version of The Plant List named 558 accepted species, 23 accepted infraspecific names, a total of 560 synonyms, and 105 that were still unresolved. On 10-11-21, the Llifle website lists 624 of which 398 are accepted names and 226 that have been placed in other genera. Their list of names includes synonyms and accepted cultivars. The Llifle website is very informative and includes many GREAT photos.

All Aloe species have similar flowers that attract hummingbirds. All have similar seed pods (which I have only seen a few).

Aloes have a good, thick root system and spread by offsets. Some are quite prolific while others are slow to spread.

All have similar succulent leaves that form some sort of a rosette pattern. All leaves produce sap that have healing properties and some may be poison. Most species have leaves with toothed edges, some rough, bumpy, spiny, and some smooth on one or both sides.

SOURCES OF INFORMATION:

Llifle (Encyclopedia of Living Forms)
Plants of the World Online
SucculentGuide
Phytotaxa
ResearchGate
Wikipedia

4 comments on “Aloe Species & Hybrids:

  1. Bill McCarthy says:

    Hi – What is the correct botanical name for the aloe hybrid “Starry Night”? I can’t seem to find a reference anywhere so far. Thanks in advance.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Bill. Since it is a hybrid, the only botanical name would be Aloe x ‘Starry Night’ or Aloe ‘Starry Night’. There doesn’t seem to be much online about it. Where did you come by this plant and does the label say Aloe ‘Starry Night’? You can send photos to me at thebelmontrooster@yahoo.com. Take care and thanks for the comment.

      Like

  2. Jeff Chandler says:

    Excellent article, I’m trying to understand the botany and growing of aloes and this is an excellent beginning.

    Liked by 1 person

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