Our Plants

June 2003 Plant Highlight: Aloe porphyrostachys
  Image of A. porphyrostachys   Image of A. porphyrostachys flower

Aloe porphyrostachys, a species that was described just a few years ago, is a stunning new addition to The Garden. It is related to Aloe rubroviolacea, a clump of which we have had in The Garden for many years. It has performed very well as a garden subject, with abundant flowers every winter. This species occurs mostly in Yemen, but also in adjacent Saudi Arabia. A few years ago, 2 related species from farther north in Saudi Arabia were described. One of these, Aloe porphyrostachys, has the farthest-north occurrence of any aloe yet described. It grows in the mountains on the east side of the Red Sea near Yanbu. The leaves are narrower and more upright than those of A. rubroviolacea, and it does not form a stem that creeps along horizontally as that species does. 

The flowers differ as well, with the inflorescence being more branched in A. porphyrostachys while the flower clusters are narrower and more elongate. The flowering period here in California comes in May-June rather than in winter as with A. rubroviolacea, and the flowers are orange-red rather than red. It is not yet known just how hardy Aloe porphyrostachys is when it comes to winter cold, but we have planted one out in the west end of Bed 6 in the hope that it will prove to be as tough as its relative. Its bold rosette of leaves and showy spires of intensely red-orange flowers make it a striking garden subject. 

Text and Photos by Brian Kemble

Mission Statement
The mission of the Ruth Bancroft Garden, Inc. is to preserve this exceptional example of garden design and to continue to develop its collection of water-conserving plants for the education and enjoyment of the public.
Centennial Celebration
We are celebrating Garden Founder Ruth Bancroft's 100th year throughout 2009. If you would like to get involved in this historic milestone, you can help by contributing to the Centennial Fund or by attending on of our many special events this year.
Grant Funders
The Ruth Bancroft Garden would like to recognize the Quest Foundation for funding our Education Coordinator’s position, and the Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust for funding our Volunteer Coordinator’s position, as well as for their generous support over the years.
The Ruth Bancroft Garden GardenConservancy