30 Jun 2015

Yemen Tree Aloe – Raydah Escarpment

Whilst travelling down the Raydah Escarpment from the top at 3000 metres to the farm at 1200 metres you come to a zone of Tree Aloe near the bottom. Here a good number of large plants grow by the side of the road and make a spectacular sight. Tree Aloes with a few exceptions are native to Africa or the islands off Africa (such as Madagascar). However, at least one tree aloe is a native of Yemen & southwest Saudi Arabia. Yemen Tree Aloe Aloe sabaea is a curious tree aloe, growing up to about three to four metres tall and having a relatively sparse head of leaves (sometimes only 6-8), most that drape down and bend gracefully. The leaves are thick, wide and gently tapering, fleshy pale green to yellow green and lightly armed with pale teeth along the margins. Stems are markedly thin, making these trees seem inordinately top heavy. There are only a few dead leaves in the skirt below the crown and most of the stem is usually bare. Flowers are multibranched and racemes are extremely open and consist of multicolored flowers of either red or orange and yellow. This unusual plant comes from remote areas of Yemen and southwestern Saudi Arabia where it grows at an intermediate elevation in stony barren soils. The specific epithet 'sabaea' comes from the Roman name for Arabia Felix, the area we now call Yemen. This plant was described and named by Georg Agustus Schweinfurth in 1894 who was a German botanist and ethnologist who travelled throughout East Central Africa and the Saudi Arabian peninsula.
Yemen Tree Aloe

Yemen Tree Aloe

Yemen Tree Aloe

Yemen Tree Aloe

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