Aloe mudenensis is one of the most attractive species of spotted aloes, endemic to Muden and Karkloof in KwaZulu-Natal.
Aloe mudenensis is an evergreen succulent that is short-stemmed, reaching up to 800 m high. The leaves are straight, broad, 175 – 350 × 50 – 90 mm, with a bluish green colour. The leaves have several scattered spots, especially on the upper surface. Aloe mudenensis inflorescence is branched, with up to 8 racemes, up to 1 m tall; racemes are dense, cylindri-conical, 175 mm long. Flower colour varies from yellowish-orange to red. Flowering occurs in winter to spring, depending where it grows.
The species is currently not threatened.
Distribution and habitat
Aloe mudenensis is endemic to Muden in northern KwaZulu Natal. It may also be found southwards in the Karkloof Valley, situated between Howick and Wartburg.
Derivation of the name and historical aspects.
The name Aloe is derived from the Greek alsos, which refers to the bitter juice from the leaves of these plants. It is probably derived from the earlier Arabic word alloeh or the Hebrew word allal, both meaning ‘bitter'. The spesific epithet mudenensis, refers to the region or the natural home that the species occurs in, namely the Muden Valley.
Aloes are well adapted in dry and hot environments and are pollinated by sun birds.
The Aloe mudenensis make great accent plants; they are also very suitable as container plants and small aloes can be used very effectively as border plants at the edge of a bed. Although aloes can grow on rocky areas, their application in horticulture is not limited to this feature and they can be used in almost any setting together with garden plants.
This succulent plant is popular in cultivation and is not used medicinally.
Growing Aloe mudenenesis
Position Aloe mudenensis in an area that gets full sun for at least half the day. The area must also have good drainage, such as a slope, a north-facing slope being the best. Despite Aloe mudenesis being a hardy plant, it still requires nutrients to thrive. The best way to ensure healthy plants is to prepare the soil correctly with organic compost before planting and then feed every few years. If Aloe mudenensis becomes too dry, the leaves will wrinkle up and the colour will fade. Regular irrigation, especially in dry weather, will keep them lush, however, if they are exposed to too much water, the leaves will drop or the whole plant will rot. They can also be propagated from seeds which germinate easily, if sown in well-drained soil and lightly covered with fine sand.
References and further reading
Pooley, E. 2005. A field guide to wild flowers KwaZulu-Natal and the eastern regions. The Flora Publications Trust, Durban.
Van Wyk, B. & Smith, G. 1996 . Guide to aloes of South Africa. Briza Publications, Pretoria.
Westacott, G. 1982. The aloes of South Africa. Balkema, Cape Town.
KwaZulu - Natal NBG