ISI 2003-18. Aloe ortholopha Christian & Milne-Redhead

Only a few aloes, most notably A. marlothii, bear horizontal flower branches with secund flowers (all oriented on one side of the raceme). This arrangement caters to sunbirds that perch on the inflorescence and sip nectar from the flowers arranged in close ranks like punch glasses at a wedding. In the process of imbibing, the bird’s heads are dusted with pollen to carry to the next reception. A. ortholopha is rather like a stylized, minimalist version of A. marlothii with an inflorescence of one or a few racemes rather than the two dozen or more typical in A. marlothii. Its foliage is smooth and glaucous, without the surface prickles of A. marlothii, and arranged in modest-sized rosettes to 2' or less. HBG 89165, plants grown from seed collected Aug., 1997, by M. Kimberley in Caesar Mine Pass, near Mutoroshanga, 100 km. N of Harare, Zimbabwe. $8.50.

Photo © 2003 by John N. Trager. Images may not be used elsewhere without permission.

Published in the Cactus and Succulent Journal, Vol. 75 (2), March - April, 2003