Guinea Fowl Aloe, Lace Aloe, Torch Plant
air-ISST-AL-oh (?) a-ris-TAH-tuh
ROYAL HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY AWARD OF GARDEN MERIT
Aristaloe aristata (Haw.) Boatwr. & J.C.Manning is now the correct and accepted scientific name for this plant. It was named and described as such by James S. Boatwright and John Charles Manning in Systematic Botany in 2014.
This plant was previouslynamed Aloe aristata Haw. as named and described by Adrian Hardy Haworth in Philosophical Magazine and Journal in 1825.
This plant is a native of Cape Provinces, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, and Lesotho in southern Africa.
IN A GENUS OF ITS OWN…
Although this was originally thought to be a species of Aloe, phylogenetic studies show the Aloe genus is polyphyletic and this unusual species IS NOT an Aloe. It is closely related to the Astrolabes and to the four Robustipedunculares species of Haworthia. Because its genetics are unique, this species is in a new genus of its own.
I bought this Aristaloe aristata from Wal-Mart on 3-19-18. It measures 2 3/4” tall x 4 1/2” wide and is in a 4” diameter x 3” tall pot. This plant was basically unlabeled but has a tag that said Aloe and that it is from Rocket Farms in Half Moon Bay, California.
To make my search easier, I sent photos of this plant, and four of the others I bought to Daiv Freeman of the SucculentGuide and also posted them on a couple of Facebook Groups. Daiv is normally very helpful, but he said this plant was a Gasteria… By the time I heard from him, one of the members of Succulent Infatuation on Facebook already told me it was an Aloe aristata. Another member said Aristaloe and another said Lace Aloe and another Torch Plant. They were all right. 🙂 One other common name is Guinea Fowl Aloe.
I first did a search on Aloe aristata and confirmed it was the correct name and its common name is Lace Aloe or Torch Plant. THEN, as I was writing this page, I went to Plants of the World Online and they said Aloe aristata was a synonym of Aristaloe aristata. GEEZ! I thought once again, “Here we go again!” Plants of the World Online is saying something different than everyone else. This time, however, there is polygenetic testing to back them up… SO, this plant is definitely Aristaloe aristata.
As you can see in the above photo, it is starting a family of its own with three offsets. It is a clumper.
Origin: South Africa and Lesotho
Zones: USDA Zones 7b-11 (5 to 40° F)
Light: Sun to part shade
Soil: Fast-draining. Potting soil amended with additional grit and pumice or perlite.
Water: Average water during the growing period, barely in winter.
I moved the plants back outside for the summer on April 29 (2018) and they were all glad to be out in the fresh air. I put it in a larger pot, too.
Basically, this plant has the same requirements as Aloe, Gasteria, etc., etc., and so on. Basically, most members of the Asphodelaceae family. They well-draining soil, potting soil amended with additional grit and perlite or pumice works well. Some collectors say pumice is better than perlite.
Although Aloe species do well in full sun, their leaves will burn so I usually keep mine in at least light shade. Some of them do just as good in part shade. You just have to experiment with the different species and see where they perform the best. Information online says this plant’s leaves are light green in shade and dark green in more light.
The leaves of this plant are slightly incurved with “tufted” tips. It is loaded with white spots that are very rough and feel like sandpaper and the margins have very small white spines.
This plant is supposed to produce orange flowers on 20″ stems during the winter. We shall see…
I moved most of my potted plants to the front porch on July 4 because of a Japanese Beetle invasion. They were eating the leaves of the Chinese Elms the plant tables were under which completely changed the environment. The Aristaloe aristata continues to do well and its offsets have really grown.
I could probably remove the offsets but I will wait. Some Aloe does best in colonies so I don’t want to rock the boat.
As cooler temperatures were on the way I had to move the potted plants inside on October 10. I always like to take photos and measure a few plants when I bring them inside for the winter.
The Aristaloe aristata made it through the winter with no problems. When temperatures started warming enough I moved the potted plants back outside.
The Aristaloe aristata is doing very well. It still hasn’t grown any new offsets but I am hopeful. The offsets are getting larger and I may need to put it in a larger pot.
I am very glad to have found this unique species at Wal-Mart and am happy to have it as a new companion. I will be adding more photos and information as time goes by.
I hope you enjoyed this page and maybe found it useful. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, I would like to hear from you. Please click on “like” if you visited this page. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. 🙂 You can check out the links below for further reading. The links take you directly to the genus and species of this plant. Just keep in mind, most information online says this plant is an Aloe aristata because they haven’t updated and some never will…