Aloe dichotoma var. ramosissima
Aloe dichotoma subsp. ramosissima
Aloe ramosissima, now called Aloidendron ramosissimum, is an endemic species of the Richtersveld, which is a region at the border between South Africa and Namibia. This plant’s habitat are very arid, rocky places, like ravines or desert slopes. This species is considered vulnerable, because its habitat is threatened by mining and overgrazing.
Aloe ramosissima, the “Maiden Quiver Tree”, is a bush which, in its natural environment, can become 2 meters tall. It forms many many branches from the ground level, becoming a dense, spherical shrub. The stems are covered in a waxy powder that protects them from the intens sunlight and form drought. At the top of each branch there is a small rosette of succulent, elongated, green leaves, more or less 20 centimeters long. Sometimes the leaves can manifest pink tinges, and the green colour can become more or less yellowish depending on the exposure to the plant to direct sunlight. The margins are provided with brownish teeth. The blossoming period, in Southern hemisphere, is June August (in northern hemisphere, the plant will blossom more or less between December and January). The inflorescence is a raceme born by a short stem (20 centimeters long), 3-branched (each branch bear a raceme) of yellow swollen tubular flowers.
Aloe ramosissima requires a well-drained sandy to prevent roots rotting. Pay attention not to wet the leaves while watering, because they are also sensitive to rotting. Watering can be almost completely suspended in winter and, in spring and summer, you can water once or twice every two weeks, abundantly. Before each watering, it’s better to wait until the soil is completely dry. You can cultivate Aloe ramosissima either in pots, inside, or outside, in dry, hot, sunny rocky gardens. Put in a pot and correctly pruned, this plant become really interesting as an ornamental plant for indoors spaces. Aloe ramosissima can survive to temperatures around 0ºC, but, to avoid damages, it’s better to protect it if you keep it outdoors, or putting it indoors if you keep it in a pot.
The easiest way to propagate Aloe ramosissima is by seed, unlike other Aloes, because stem cutting often fails. Seeds germinate rapidly if sown in a river sand substrate. Seeds are mature from November, and they should be sown fresh.
Aloe-based products (and in particular Aloe Vera varieties) have been experiencing a period of intense commercial exploitation for some years, which is only partially justified by the actual plant properties. Morover, Aloe species are frequently cultivated as ornamental plants both in gardens and in pots because they are highly decorative and are valued by collectors of succulents.