Aloe pluridens is an attractive plant which bears gracefully
recurved leaves in large spiralled rosettes. It may be either single-stemmed
or branched and occasionally bears numerous small plantlets on the
otherwise smooth stems.
This is a tall aloe, occasionally reaching up to 5-6 m high. The leaves are bright green to yellowish-green and may be up to 70 cm in length. The leaf margin is armed with firm white teeth. The leaf sap is clear with a strong, rhubarb-like smell.
Inflorescences are branched and have up to 4 racemes protruding above the leaves. The flowers are usually orange or pinkish-red, but a yellow form is also known. Up to three inflorescences may be borne from each rosette. It flowers from May to July.
Distribution and habitat
It occurs naturally in a broad coastal belt from the Eastern Cape
to KwaZulu Natal. It is particularly common in the Port Elizabeth,
Uitenhage and the Albany areas where it is normally associated with
dense thicket vegetation where the rosettes may be seen above the
surrounding bush. It is not threatened in its natural habitat.
Derivation of Name
pluridens = from "pluri-" (many) and "dens" (teeth) in reference to the many teeth on the leaf margins.
Growing Aloe pluridens
The French aloe is relatively easy to grow and may be propagated
by seed, cuttings or truncheons.
It makes a spectacular garden subject. On the Highveld it should
be planted in semi-shade and protected from severe frost. In its
natural thicket environment, the surrounding bushes protect the
stems from sun and cold.
- Bornman, H. & Hardy, D. (1971) Aloes of the South African
Veld. Voortrekker Pers : Johannesburg.
- Jeppe, B. (1974) South African Aloes. 2nd ed. Purnell : Cape
- Geynolds, G.W. (1982) The Aloes of South Africa. A.A.Balkema
: Cape Town.
- Van Wyk, B. & Smith, G. (1996) Guide to the Aloes of South
Africa. Briza Publications : Pretoria.
Witwatersrand National Botanical Garden