Our Plants

August 2005 Plant Highlight: Aloe tomentosa
Image of Aloe tomentosa   Image of A. tomentosa flower

Aloes are widely distributed through Africa, as well as the Arabian peninsula and islands in the Indian Ocean (notably Madagascar). There are several hundred species altogether, but only a small number of these have flowers which are hairy, and all of these are found near the Red Sea. One of these is Aloe tomentosa, which comes from Yemen and Saudi Arabia. The name “tomentosa”, which means “covered with wooly hairs”, refers to this feature.

Aloe tomentosa is a stemless plant, with large, fleshy green leaves which taper to a point. It typically has a single head, though occasional specimens with two or more heads may be encountered. The tubular flowers are produced in summer, mostly in July and August, in bunches at the ends of the many branches on the flower-stalk. The flower color is white, often with some green. The dense covering of wooly white hair gives them a most unusual appearance.

Plants are fairly good-sized, attaining a diameter of a meter or more (3 to 4 feet), but without a stem or offshoots they are not so large as to overwhelm an average-size garden. They are not difficult to grow if provided with good drainage, and they can withstand freezes if these are not too severe or prolonged. Plants at the Ruth Bancroft Garden survived temperatures down to about 20º F (-6 or -7º C).

Text and Photos by Brian Kemble

Mission Statement
The mission of the Ruth Bancroft Garden, Inc. is to preserve this exceptional example of garden design and to continue to develop its collection of water-conserving plants for the education and enjoyment of the public.
 
Centennial Celebration
We are celebrating Garden Founder Ruth Bancroft's 100th year throughout 2009. If you would like to get involved in this historic milestone, you can help by contributing to the Centennial Fund or by attending on of our many special events this year.
 
Grant Funders
The Ruth Bancroft Garden would like to recognize the Quest Foundation for funding our Education Coordinator’s position, and the Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust for funding our Volunteer Coordinator’s position, as well as for their generous support over the years.
The Ruth Bancroft Garden GardenConservancy