Aloe ~ Aloe Vera ~ Aloe barbadensis Plant Care Guide
Aloe /ˈæloʊ/, also Aloë, is a genus containing over 500 species of flowering succulent plants. The most widely known species is Aloe vera, or “true aloe”, so called because, though probably extinct in the wild, it is cultivated as the standard source of so-called “aloe vera” for assorted pharmaceutical purposes. Other species, such as Aloe ferox, also are cultivated or harvested from the wild for similar applications.
The genus is native to Africa; species are found in southern Africa, the mountains of tropical Africa, various islands off the coast of Africa including Sardinia, Madagascar, and the Arabian Peninsula.
The APG III system (2009) places the genus in the family Xanthorrhoeaceae, subfamily Asphodeloideae. In the past, it has also been assigned to families Aloaceae and Liliaceae or lily family. The plant Agave americana, which is sometimes called “American aloe”, belongs to the Asparagaceae, a different family.
The genus is native to tropical and southern Africa, Madagascar, and Jordan to the Arabian Peninsula.
Aloe vera is a succulent plant species that is found only in cultivation, having no naturally occurring populations, although closely related aloes do occur in northern Africa. The species is frequently cited as being used in herbal medicine since the beginning of the first century AD. Extracts from A. vera are widely used in the cosmetics and alternative medicine industries, being marketed as variously having rejuvenating, healing, or soothing properties. There is, however, little scientific evidence of the effectiveness or safety of Aloe vera extracts for either cosmetic or medicinal purposes, and what positive evidence is available is frequently contradicted by other studies.
Growing an Aloe Vera (or most other Aloe species; there are more than 300 of them) is not a difficult matter, if a few basic rules are followed:
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