Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera
Aloe vera
Native to: Northern Africa
Type: Succulent

Adapatations

  • Aloe vera have succulent leaves, adapted for a dry environment. The succulence allows a low surface to volume ratio to reduce water loss and allows water storage inside the leaves of the plant.
  • The thick fleshy exterior of the leaf allows protection from the dry environment.
  • This plant undergoes CAM Photosynthesis, a specialized form of photosynthesis suited for dry environments.
  • Aloe Vera reproduces from vegetative propagation, producing offsets. (See Picture)

Look for:

  • Thick external surface of the plant. Notice the fleshy feel to the leaves and note how they would help protect from high winds and the sun.
  • Flower, if in bloom. Aloe Vera flowers bloom from a spike emerging out of the plant. The flowers are tubular shaped, and often bright colors such as yellow or pink.(see picture)

Interesting facts:

  • Inside the leaves of the plant is the aloe “gel.” The gel is used often in cosmetics and alternative medicine.
  • The Aloe Vera plant has many human uses, and is often used for burns, skin irritation and wounds when applied topically.
  • The gel is also believed to provide immune support, and help a number of health problems including ulcers, constipation and diabetes when taken orally.
  • Aloe Vera has been believed to be a “healing” plant for thousands of years, but the scientific evidence is limited and often contradictory. In some cases, topical application can cause erythema and dermatitis. Ingestion of Aloe Vera has also been associated with diarrhea, kidney dysfunction, and electrolyte imbalance.

Flowering Aloe Vera:

photo 1

Vegitative Propagation (note bud growing next to the base of the plant):

photo 2

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