Is there really any such thing as an Aloe vera?

Discussion in 'Houseplants' started by aseedisapromise, Mar 6, 2015.

  1. aseedisapromise

    aseedisapromise New Seed

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    This is maybe going to sound silly, but I have seen so many plants listed as Aloe vera, with differently colored blooms and sizes and growth habits etc. Most that I have seen do have the green coloration (well, in the shade), white dots when they are young, and the Aloe shape. I suspect a lot of different Aloes species have medicinal qualities, but I don't really "know" this. I know that variations in care will give different appearances, like they will get redder with more sun, but I don't think you can really change flower color with your care, except for maybe putting food coloring in their drink. Anyone have any thoughts on this?
     
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  3. toni

    toni Mistress of Garden Junque Staff Member Moderator Plants Contributor

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    Actually there are over 500 species of Aloe but only one is Aloe vera and confusingly enough there are almost 20 other names (synonyms) for this same plant. Aloe vera is not the only medicinal Aloe, several of the plants in the Aloe genus are medicinal.
    Aloe plants that are not medicinal are designated as ornamental.

    Almost everyone is familiar with Aloe vera and sadly many people see the name Aloe and automatically call it Aloe vera without realizing how many different ones there are.
     
  4. aseedisapromise

    aseedisapromise New Seed

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    So I googled around and it seems that even the folks growing it commercially, or maybe especially the folks growing it commercially argue about nomenclature and what is what. I guess producers are up in arms because the USDA red flagged it for causing cancer in rats. I noticed the USDA says it is introduced in TX. Can it grow outside where you are, or is it too cold? I realize there is Texas, and then there is Texas. Big, varied place. It would be fun to grow it outside, but I would miss peonies. I guess I need to realize that one species can have flowers in many colors, too. Maybe a closer examination of the flowers would show differences, or a DNA test.
     
  5. toni

    toni Mistress of Garden Junque Staff Member Moderator Plants Contributor

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    In north central Texas where I am it is a potted plant that can be moved inside when the weather turns cold since I am in zone 8a and we do get temps lower than it can handle.
    It's hardy in zone 9-11, but even those zones in Texas can get hit by a night of cold weather that will take them out.

    Did you know that the USDA made the manufacturers of rat poison remove red dye from their products because red dye was found to cause cancer in rats?
     
  6. aseedisapromise

    aseedisapromise New Seed

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    Well, lol. The USDA sure has the supplement industry cranked up about it. I guess there is more money to be made in supplements than in houseplants.
     

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