by johnah on November 1, 2020
Aloe is one of the most popular plants in the world. It grows naturally in tropical regions such as Africa, Asia, Australia and South America. Aloes are used for their succulent leaves which have been known to be used as medicine or food. They are also known to have medicinal properties that could prevent skin diseases and infections. Aloe vera (also called “Aldea” in Latin) is a plant native to warm climates, including the Mediterranean region. It’s name comes from the Greek word for “warm.” Aloe vera is cultivated worldwide and is commonly grown in warmer areas where temperatures tend to be hotter than those found in temperate zones.
The plant has many uses, but its main use is as a source of aloe vera juice or powder. There are several varieties of aloe vera, each with different characteristics and benefits.
Some varieties are easy to grow, while others require special conditions. For example, some aloe varieties can tolerate high levels of heat and cold well, while other types need higher humidity levels in order to thrive.
There are two main ways of growing aloe vera: by hand or using mechanical means. Mechanical methods involve planting seeds directly into the soil or cutting off the top part of a leaf and placing it in water so that it sprouts roots.
The downside to mechanical methods is that they are dependent on external factors such as watering the cutting or top part of leaf regularly.
By hand, you’ll need an aloe vera plant and a container of some sort. To start off, use a sterile knife to cut off a piece of the plant, about half an inch long.
Clean the knife using alcohol before making another cut to prevent soil-borne diseases from spreading. After the two cuts are made, place the bottom part into the soil with the top half exposed. The cutting will begin to develop roots and leaves over time, but it takes several weeks before it’s able to grow on its own.
Aloe vera is a very useful plant that has many practical uses. Consider growing an aloe plant to help prevent outbreaks of skin diseases like ringworm or to make natural medicines.
Once you grow your aloe plant, you can start using it to make all sorts of cosmetic creams and lotions. Even if you don’t have much experience when it comes to gardening, you should be able to grow an aloe plant successfully.
Other Types Of Aloes
Many types of aloes exist all over the world. Some types of aloes are very common and can be found just about anywhere.
Other types of aloes are rarer and only exist in certain regions. In some cases, the types of aloes that exist in a particular region are heavily influenced by the geography of that area. For example, some aloes can only be found on steep rocky cliffs and can’t even grow anywhere else.
Aloes can also be classified based on their uses. Some types of aloes are grown and harvested for their sap while other types of aloes are grown for decoration.
Some types of aloes are even both ornamental and useful.
Aloes that are grown for decoration are usually potted plants. These types of aloes tend to have a more surreal or unusual look compared to other plants.
They also tend to be very vibrant in color. In some cases, these types of aloes have medicinal properties despite their lack of practical uses. Aloes that are grown for their sap are often used to make natural dyes. The sap can be collected and turned into a dye of any color of the rainbow.
Aloes can also be classified based on how they grow. Most types of aloes are found in dry, hot environments but some types of aloes can be found in more tropical or even aquatic areas.
Aloe vera is the most common type of aloe. This type of aloe is extremely resilient and can be found all over the world in hot, dry environments.
Aloe vera plants are also very useful to humans as well. The sap from an aloe vera plant has many practical uses for day to day life.
Aloes That Are Used For Decoration
Some types of aloes are grown mainly for decoration instead of for their sap or practical uses. These types of aloes are often grown in pots and are kept small due to the fact that they don’t have many practical uses.
These types of aloes are most commonly found in homes or flower shops rather than outdoors.
Rabbit’s Foot Aloe: The rabbit’s foot aloe is a type of aloe that gets its name from its furry leaves that each have a pink pad near the base. The leaf itself is green and shaped like a spike.
It produces yellow flowers with red spots.
The origin of its name comes from an old legend. Apparently, if you touch the plant and then touch your nose, then you’ll be granted good luck.
The ancient Aztecs were inspired by this plant’s appearance to create a rabbit deity.
This type of aloe is often kept as a houseplant due to the myth surrounding it and its charming appearance. It can grow up to a foot tall but is kept shorter when grown as a houseplant.
Lily Aloe: The lily aloe, also known as the hairy aloe, is a type of aloe that gets its name from its flowers. The flower’s appearance is similar to a lily flower and it grows in clusters.
The flower is white with red spots. The leaves are green and shaped like long spikes. The leaves are covered with small, white hairs.
This type of aloe is quite rare and can only be found in a few select regions. It’s grown mainly for its flowers rather than its sap or practical uses.
The flowers smell slightly like strawberries.
Desert Rose: The desert rose is a type of aloe with a red flower that resembles the shape of a rose. The leaves are green and shaped like very short spikes.
It only produces one flower on a single stem. The Desert Rose aloe is related to the rabbit’s foot aloe and shares a similar legend as it.
This type of aloe is mainly grown for its flowers rather than its sap or practical uses. The Desert Rose is quite common in the region of Ranmer but can be found in other places as well.
Aloes That Are Used For Medicinal Purposes
The aloes that are used for medicinal purposes have many practical uses but they are mainly used as medicine. Since these types of aloes have many practical uses, they also tend to be quite common in the area where they grow.
These types of aloes are most commonly found in apothecaries rather than plant nurseries.
Fire Aloe: The fire aloe is a light brown aloe with yellow spots. It gets its name from a Ancient language word that means fire.
This type of aloe often brings to mind images of a burning sun. It grows thick, sharp teeth-like spikes on its edges and tips of its leaves. Its flowers are deep red with orange spots.
The fire aloe is used in many different types of medicine due to its many practical uses. The sap of the plant is quite bitter but can be used as an alternative to beeswax.
The flower spikes can be boiled down to create a frosting-like frosting that can be used as an antiseptic by ancient lore.
Desert Ice Aloe: The desert ice aloe is a type of aloe that gets its name from the fact that its leaves look like they’re covered in frost or ice. It’s leaves are blue-green and shaped like short spikes.
The leaves have white spots and stripes. It produces yellow flowers with purple tips.
The desert ice aloe is used as an antiseptic. The sap of the plant can be used to treat minor cuts, burns, and abrasions.
It can also be applied to insect stings and bites to relieve pain and reduce swelling. The flowers can be eaten to ward off dehydration in the desert.
Curve Aloe: The curve aloe is a type of aloe that gets its name from the curve-like patterns on the edges of its leaves. Its leaves are green and shaped like short spikes.
The flowers are red with yellow spots. This type of aloe grows quite a bit slower than other types of aloe.
The curve aloe is used mainly as an antiseptic. The sap can be used to clean and heal minor wounds and sores.
It’s flowers can be eaten to improve resistance to the heat.
Desert Rain Aloe: The desert rain aloe is a small Aloe plant that gets its name from the fact that it flowers during rainstorms in the desert where it grows. Its leaves are greenish-brown and shaped like short spikes.
It’s flowers are yellow with orange spots.
The desert rain aloe is mainly used as an antiseptic for treating the hair and skin. It’s sap can be used to condition dry or brittle hair and skin.
The flowers can be eaten to relieve dry mouth and thirst due to dehydration.
Aloes are very useful plants that have many practical uses. Most aloes are known for their ability to speed up the healing of minor burns, cuts, and abrasions.
A lot of aloes usually have an antiseptic quality that allows them to prevent infection in open wounds. Most aloes have a bitter taste due to a substance known as aloin.
Aloin is known to have a laxative effect if enough of the plant is consumed. This can be useful if you have a stomach ache or are constipated.
It should be noted that consuming excessive amounts of aloe can be very dangerous and even deadly.
Some types of aloe plants are also edible and can be used to prevent dehydration. Aloe vera is one of the more well known edibles.
It’s mainly used as a healing agent but can be consumed to prevent dehydration due to its high water content. It should only be consumed in an emergency since it’s not particularly tasty.
Desert dwellers have long used various types of aloes to protect their skin and hair from the harsh rays of the sun in the desert. Aloe Vera is used to protect the skin from sunburn, and other types of aloe are used as conditioners for the hair.
Aloe is also used to make a variety of products from soaps, shampoos, and lotions to toothpaste and deodorant. You can even buy an aloe vera plant to place on your kitchen windowsill to use the juice as a handy first aid for burns, cuts, and various skin irritations.
Various types of Aloe are also useful for first aid kits. It’s very easy to grow and can be harvested as needed.
The sap of the plant is a clear, gooey substance that has no color or distinctive odor. Aloe sap is used in a variety of first aid products, such as burn ointments and creams.
When buying an aloe vera plant for your home or survival kit, make sure you buy a healthy looking plant that has no discoloration or spots. The leaves of the aloe should also be fairly thick and unbroken.
You can use the aloe juice on minor burns, sunburns, and itchy insect bites.
You can use the leaves of the plant to wrap around your finger or other body part that may have sustained a small cut or abrasion. Make sure to change the leaf frequently since it will dry out and lose its effectiveness.
Honey Mesquite: This is a small tree that produces bean shaped fruits that are tan in color with a few dark stripes. The bean inside is yellowish in color and has an almond like flavor.
It is fairly sweet but becomes somewhat sour if the fruit has matured fully.
Almonds: These nuts grow on trees and have a hard shell that contains a soft jelly like edible substance with a light brown outer skin. It has a very mild, nutty flavor.
Pinyon Nuts: These grow on small trees and are shaped like hazelnuts (though smaller). They have a hard shell with a sweet, white edible substance inside.
The flavor is fairly bland.
Juniper Berries: These berries grow in bunches on bushes. They are dark blue in color and have a slightly sweet flavor.
Acorns: The nutty tasting acorns are found in the cuts of holly oak, scarlet oak, live oak, and other oak trees. They are edible, but should be leached before eating to remove the tannic acid (which can prevent proper digestion as well as cause sickness or diarrhea)
Powdered Acorn: These nuts can be ground into a fine powder that can be used as a substitute for flour when baking. It can also be used as a thickener in recipes.
If eaten raw, it can cause nausea and other digestive problems due to the tannic acid.
Protein Powders: These are high protein ingredients made from any one of several sources; generally meat or vegetable.
Honey: This is a sweet substance made by bees using nectar from flowers. It is the only food source for bees who make it during the spring and summer and store it for their own needs as well as to support the colony through the winter.
It comes in a few different forms; the most basic of which is just the raw, liquid honey that has not yet set. Slightly more processed is honeycomb; which is simply honey that has been drained from the honeycomb and packaged. It has a chewy texture and granular consistency. Another form is comb; which is similar to honeycomb but has had most of the moisture content drained out of it making it considerably harder and more brittle.
Honey has a long list of benefits both in cooking and for the body. It has a rich taste that is somewhat sweet and can serve as a decent substitute for sugar when baking but it is also used to enhance the flavor of various foods as well.
Most importantly though, it contains small amounts of minerals and vitamins that can actually benefit the consumer’s health and has been used throughout history to treat a variety of illnesses.
Because honey has antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, it is also used in some medical treatments.
Honey can be used to sweeten herbal tea, among other things.
Honey can be spread on certain foods to give them a sweet flavor.
Bees: These insects gather and make their homes in networks of underground tunnels where they store their valuable products as well as breed their young. The species found in the wilderness are usually wild but there are different breeds that have been domesticated for their honey making abilities and some have even been bred to increase their size for better productivity.
Domesticated bees can be used to gather large quantities of this golden fluid which is commonly used in cooking as a sweetener and adds a distinct flavor.
Mostly carnivorous animals, bees will attack if provoked and their stings are painful though not often life threatening. The honeycomb provides a good source of food when you have nothing else.
Honeycomb: This comb is usually harvested from bees and is composed of the hexagonal cells made from beeswax used to house the honey they gather. It can be eaten as is but this treat is often preserved in order to enjoy later.
It can be used as a sweetener for other foods as well and has even more uses in medicine due to its hygroscopic and antibiotic properties.
Virtually all parts of this plant can be eaten and have a sweet flavor. The juice can even be used as a substitute for sugar.
The leaves themselves are soft and chewy but can be eaten raw or cooked much like spinach.
The boiled root is usually eaten as a substitute for other carbohydrates such as bread. It has a mild taste and the texture of an apple.
This plant has several other culinary uses but it mainly used as a restorative health drink. The flower is edible but the petals should be avoided due to the fact that they are often covered in a layer of fine hairs that can cause irritation if ingested.
The stalk and base of the leaf are mainly used as a restorative and to heal wounds. It has virtually no taste but can be chewed to relieve nausea or eaten whole to soothe sore throats and colds.
The seeds can be ground into a meal to make bread or mixed with water to form a nutritious porridge. It has a bland but pleasant taste and can be eaten daily to meet nutritional needs.
The root is a valuable source of nourishment in the wild. It is often found in the soil of forested areas and can be easily dug up and eaten.
It has a sweet flavor and can keep up to a month if dried.
Roots & Tubers
Arum – Also known as cuckoopint, this plant has purple flowers that contain a dark liquid that looks like blood. This liquid is poisonous and will cause a temperature rise and then a rapid drop in body temperature followed by death.
The leaves, stem and roots are all edible and have a mild taste like garlic. The root is the most nutritious part of the plant and can be ground into a meal and eaten as porridge.
The root can also be boiled to make a nutritious tea.
The bulbs can be eaten raw or cooked and have a taste similar to garlic bread. They contain soluble starch that is good for energy, and the dried bulbs can be ground into a flour substitute.
The young leaves are soft and edible but lose their flavor quickly when picked. The older leaves should be cooked to destroy the poisonous properties.
Arum grows in many parts of the world and can be found near waterways, at the edge of forests and even in some urban areas where it has spread by being carried there by birds that eat the seeds.
The entire plant is edible and nutritious. It is a good idea to always remove dirt and debris before eating the plant.
Wild Onion – Also known as the field onion, this plant can be found in many parts of the world. It has a strong taste that is very similar to onions but with a stronger aftertaste, hence the name wild onion.
The entire plant can be eaten either cooked or raw. It’s a good idea to remove the dirt and grime before eating.
Dandelions – These yellow flowers are one of the first signs of spring in temperate climates. They are best identified by their bright yellow flower and round shape.
The entire plant is edible, although the flowers are usually ignored as they have a very subtle taste. The leaves, flowers and roots can be eaten raw or cooked.
They can also be dried and ground into a meal to make dandelion coffee.
The roots can be eaten raw but should be cooked to remove the bitterness. They can also be dried and ground into a meal.
Dandelions are nutritious and can be found in many different temperate areas of the world.
Stinging Nettle – Also known as stinging nettles, this plant has small rounded leaves and hollow green stems that grow in the ground. The leaves and stems have tiny hairs that contain a poison that causes a stinging sensation when they come into contact with human skin.
The entire plant is poisonous, although the cooked and dried plant is safe to eat. Boiling the plant in several changes of water will remove most of the poison.
The plant is high in iron and has been eaten historically in some cultures.
Seaweed – Seaweed is an edible form of algae that grows in salt water and has become widespread throughout the world’s oceans. It can be found on most coasts although some species of seaweed are unique to certain parts.
There are many different types of seaweed, some more edible than others. Some types can only be eaten after cooking since their raw form is poisonous.
Algae is a nutritious food source that can be found on almost every coastline in the world.
Water Lettuce – Also known as water leaf or water lettuce, this plant can be found in fresh waters across much of the northern hemisphere. It has round leaves and grows on the surface of the water just below the surface where it receives most of its nutrients.
The entire plant is edible but should be boiled since eating it raw may cause digestive problems.
Sources & references used in this article:
Species-specific responses of “Critically Endangered” and “Least Concern” Aloe seed germination to environmental conditions in Tanzania by SA Abihudi, PB Venkataramana, HJ de Boer… – Global Ecology and …, 2020 – Elsevier
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Seed storage and germination in Kumara plicatilis, a tree aloe endemic to Mountain Fynbos in the Boland, south-western Cape, South Africa by SR Cousins, ETF Witkowski, DJ Mycock – South African Journal of Botany, 2014 – Elsevier
Seed dispersal and seed banks in Aloe marlothii (Asphodelaceae) by CT Symes – South African Journal of Botany, 2012 – Elsevier
The birds and the seeds: opportunistic avian nectarivores enhance reproduction in an endemic montane aloe by G Arena, CT Symes, ETF Witkowski – Plant Ecology, 2013 – Springer
Reproductive ecology of Aloe plicatilis, a fynbos tree aloe endemic to the Cape Winelands, South Africa by SR Cousins, ETF Witkowski, MF Pfab… – South African Journal of …, 2013 – Elsevier
Studies on seed germination, seedling growth, and in vitro shoot induction of Aloe ferox Mill., a commercially important species by MW Bairu, MG Kulkarni, RA Street, RB Mulaudzi… – …, 2009 – journals.ashs.org
Micropropagation of the endangered Aloe polyphylla by AL Abrie, J Van Staden – Plant Growth Regulation, 2001 – Springer
Physiological studies on some annual plants by HMA Youssef – 1997 – bu.edu.eg