The quiver tree or Aloe dichotoma is probably the best known aloe found in South Africa and Namibia. Visitors to the Cape can see a recently planted forest of quiver trees at the Karoo Desert National Botanical Garden. This distinctive tree aloe has smooth branches, which are covered with a thin layer of whitish powder that helps to reflect away the hot sun's rays. The bark on the trunk forms beautiful golden brown scales, but beware, the edges of these scales are razor sharp. The crown is often densely rounded as a result of the repeatedly forked branches, hence the species name dichotoma. (dichotomous meaning forked). The blue-green leaves are borne on terminal rosettes, but in juvenile plants the leaves are ranked in vertical rows. The bright yellow flowers are borne from June to July. The young flower buds can be eaten and have a similar appearance and taste to asparagus. Sugar birds are drawn to these flowers in winter where they feed on the nectar produced by the flowers. Aloe dichotoma is an extremely tough tree that may reach an age of over 80 years and a height of approximately 7 metres. This species is a conspicuous component of the arid parts generally known as Namaqualand and Bushman land. It occurs in rocky areas, from near Nieuwoudtville northwards into Namibia and eastwards to Upington and Kenhardt. A common phenomenon in the branches of these trees is the huge communal nest of weavers that live and breed by the thousands. Here their young and unborn are safe from predators such as snakes and jackals.
USDA Zone - 10
Season to Sow - Autumn
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