A great collector’s Aloe that will grow slowly to 1,5 m tall. It somewhat resembles Aloe dichotoma, but without a stem and with more branches. Young trees looks like bonsai. Spectacular!
Family: Aloaceae (Asphodelaceae)
Scientific name: Aloe ramosissima Pillans
Common English Names include: Maiden's Quiver Tree
Origin: Southern Africa (Richtersveld), southern Namibia.
Habitat: The plants is from the winter rainfall of Southern Africa's Namib Desert and occur in very arid, rocky places on hills and mountains. They rely on winter rains that average around 110 mm or less per annum. It is not at all uncommon in this area for summer temperatures to rise to 46º C and years may pass before any rain falls.
Ecology: The bright yellow flowers produce nectar which is harvested by sugarbirds and ants. Generally, flowers are pollinated by bees and ants. When capsules dry out, the winged seeds are carried by the wind, often landing in bushes where they germinate, making full use of the shelter and shade. Plants eventually outgrow the nurse plant, killing it in the process. The fleshy leaves and stems act as water reservoirs in times of drought and the grey powder on the stems reflect intense heat away from the plant.
Taxonomists are now starting to reclassify this plant as a form of Aloe dichotoma
Aloe ramosissima (A youn specimen)
Description: It is a slow growing tree (shrub) type aloe known for its many branches and smooth, white stems, and without a doubt the most profusely branched of all aloes. It will form a succulent bush up to 1.2(-1,8) m tall and wide. Other than this low branching habit and usually smaller leaf size, it is virtually identical to Aloe dichotoma, and some consider it a subspecies of A dichotoma. Eventually forms large mounds.
The slow growth rate and relative rarity of the plant make it a particularly sought after and expensive specimen.
Cultivation: Winter grower, it is sometimes a tricky grower and prone to rot. Like its closest relative, Aloe dichotoma, it has a very old and almost stressed appearance making this an excellent and sought-after container plant or wonderful landscape specimens in the garden, although it doesn't make a trunk. When growing this Aloe, one must be careful not to overwater. It is best suited to being grown in a pot around here so that it has excellent drainage. If kept dry it is frost resistant and without trouble..
Propagation: Plants grow easily from seeds and once germinated develop rapidly. It is possible to grow plants from cuttings but attempts are very seldom successful and therefore not advisable..The problem is they don't start to form roots until the start of the active growth season, which in begins in September. Seeds are able to survive for many months, but it is better to sow fresh seeds. Use coarse river sand mixed with fine compost, one part compost and two parts sand. Cover seed lightly and keep moist. One must be careful not to over-water and seedlings should be treated with a fungicide to avoid damping off. Seeds of Aloe ramosissima are best sown in autumn.
USE: The young flower buds can be eaten and have a similar appearance and taste to asparagus.