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Barbados aloe, burn plant, Curaçao aloe, medicinal aloe, unguentine cactus


Habit Plants short-stemmed, woody-based, stoloniferous. Plants succulent, shrubby or arborescent, scapose.

to 50 cm; scarious leaf sheaths persistent.

erect, clambering or ascending, branched or not.


alternate, rosulate to distichous, 10–50 × 10–70 cm;

blade glaucous-green to variegated with small white or glaucous dots, irregular bands, or blotches, often reddish near apex or margins, lanceolate to ensate, tapering from base to apex, glabrous, margins green, spiny-toothed, teeth 1–1.5 cm apart.

succulent, crowded, often rosulate or distichous;

blade margins spiny-toothed or entire.


terminal, usually unbranched, racemose, 10–15 dm, usually covered with scalelike bracts;

racemes cylindrical, dense, 0.5 m;

bracts glabrous or puberulent, with 3 prominent purple veins that are confluent at tips.

axillary or terminal, paniculate to more often racemose, dense, bracteate.


perianth yellow;

tepals prominently 3-veined, connate basally for 1/2 their length, lobes broadly linear to oblong-lanceolate, apex rounded;

stamens 6, included to slightly exserted, slightly unequal;

filaments 2–2.5 cm;

anthers 2.5–4 mm;

style usually exserted;

stigmas not expanded;

pedicel 2.2–3.3 cm.

usually nodding;

perianth red to yellow;

tepals connate basally to almost entirely into tube;

stamens 3 or 6;

style slender;

pedicel not articulate.


somewhat elongate.

papery to woody.


= 7.


= 14.

Aloe vera


Phenology Flowering spring–winter, occasionally at other times.
Habitat Hammocks, sandy areas, roadsides, and similar places in full sun
Elevation 0 and 1300 m (0 and 4300 ft)
from FNA
AZ; FL; TX; Mediterranean region and Atlantic islands (Canary, Madeira, and Cape Verde) [Introduced in North America]
[BONAP county map]
from USDA
primarily s and tropical Africa; also Madagascar; Arabian peninsula; and Atlantic islands (Madeira, Canary, and Cape Verde); naturalized in the Mediterranean region; India; and China [Introduced in North America]
[BONAP county map]

This is the aloe of commerce and source of bitter aloe. Most of the world’s supply is grown in southern Texas and adjacent northwestern Mexico and the West Indies. The species is thought to be native to the Atlantic islands and is widely used as an indoor ornamental. It is often cultivated outdoors in the southwestern United States, where it occasionally escapes.

(Discussion copyrighted by Flora of North America; reprinted with permission.)

Species 300 or more (2 in the flora).

Aloe saponaria (Aiton) Haworth, distinguished by its yellow sap and glaucous red flowers with yellow throats, is cultivated in the southwestern United States and has been observed to escape. Apparently it persists only when supplementary water is available.

(Discussion copyrighted by Flora of North America; reprinted with permission.)

1. Perianth yellow; inflorescences unbranched or rarely branched; leaf blade margins green.
A. vera
1. Perianth red; inflorescences divided distally into 5–10 arching branches; leaf blade margins narrowly whitish.
A. ×schonlandii
Source FNA vol. 26, p. 411. FNA vol. 26, p. 410.
Parent taxa Aloaceae > Aloe Aloaceae
Sibling taxa
A. ×schonlandii
Subordinate taxa
A. vera, A. ×schonlandii
Synonyms A. perfoliata var. vera, A. barbadensis
Name authority (Linnaeus) Burman f.: Fl. Indica, 83. (1768) Linnaeus: Sp. Pl. 1: 319. (1753): Gen. Pl. ed. 5, 150. (1754)
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