Aloe arborescens has many synonyms including krans aloe, candelabra aloe and tree aloe. This indigenous plant is well known for its healing qualities. It is great for giving gardens a splash of colour during the dull winter months.
Aloe arborescens is an evergreen succulent plant with sliver green leaves. They require full sun and can tolerate light frost. The krantz aloe is adapted to many habitats. It is one of the few aloes that can be found growing at sea level right up to the tops of mountains. But it is usually found in mountainous areas where it favours exposed ridges and rocky outcrops.
The large bright orange flower spikes are borne in profusion between June and July. The flowers produce nectar and attract humming birds and bees. The krantz aloe is easily propagated from a branch or stem off cut, allowed to dry for a day or so and then planted in well-drained soil or sand. Is hybridizes easily with other aloes. It is fast-growing and is an excellent and impenetrable hedge plant and will tolerate drought and neglect once established.
The name aloe is from the Greek word also, the Arabic word alloeh or the Hebrew word allal which refers to the bitter juice from the leaves. The Latin word arborescensmeans tree-forming or tree-like, and was originally applied to this species in reference to its stem-forming habit. The common name krantz aloe refers to its habitat, a krantz being a rocky ridge or cliff.
Aloe arborescens has many medicinal uses due to its regenerative and healing powers. The Zulu people use the leaves of this plant, dried and pounded into a powder, as a protection against storms and decoctions of the leaves are also used in childbirth and in treating sick calves. In the Transkei it is used for stomach ache and given to chickens to prevent them from getting sick. In the Orient, this aloe is grown in domestic gardens as a convenient first-aid treatment for burn wounds and abrasions. When studied, extracts from the leaves have shown significant wound healing, anti-bacterial, anti-ulcer, anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties.