Dargle Wildflower of the Month
Common name: krantz aloe; Afrikaans: kransaalwyn; Xhosa: ikalene inkalane; Zulu: umhlabana
Mid-winter days are always brightened by bursts of bright orange aloes in full flower. The common Krantz Aloe grows well in the midlands and is often used to edge kraals in rural areas or for suburban hedges. It grows to 2 or 3m high, the grey green toothed leaves are arranged in rosettes showing off the deep orange-red inflorescence beautifully. This species has a wide distribution from the Cape Peninsular all the way to Limpopo and Moҫambique, growing in many habitats from sea level right up to mountain tops. The nectar rich flowers attract many kinds of birds, particularly sunbirds, and also bees.
Decoctions of the leaves are used in childbirth, for treating sick calves and also given to chickens to prevent them from getting sick. Dried leaves pounded into a powder, are used traditionally as a protection against storms. The sap of the leaves is a useful first-aid treatment for burn and abrasions, containing anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and wound healing properties. This Aloe is an essential component of any wildlife friendly or healing garden.
For more Dargle Wildflowers of the Month click here to visit the Wildflower Archive