What’s Aloe?

FR: Aloes GER: Aloe IT: Aloe SP: Aloe

BOT: Aloe barbadensis FAM: Liliaceae or Agaraceae ILL: Plate 2, No. 3

Aloes, with their rosettes of fleshy but leathery swordshaped leaves (looking a bit like an aspidistra) are familiar as greenhouse or ornamental plants. They come mainly from Africa and the West Indies, and some species contain an intensely bitter honey-like sap, which turns black when boiled down. It is used in small quantities infernets and bitters and, by tradition, is used to discourage small children from biting their nails. It is best to buy aloes from the druggist rather than to experiment with the plants from the garden, as some species are very poisonous.

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