Our Plants

December 2012 Plant Highlight: Aloe ramosissima

by Brian Kemble

Aloe ramosissima is a shrubby species from South Africa’s arid northwest, and it is also found to the north in the southwest corner of Namibia. This is an area of winter rainfall, but with an annual total of only about 5 inches (125 mm) and temperatures which rarely fall more than a degree or two below freezing. It can be grown outdoors in southern California, but at the Ruth Bancroft Garden we grow it in a greenhouse bed where the cold and excessive wet of our winters can be kept at bay.


A. ramosissimaA. ramosissima bark


There is a very close relationship between Aloe ramosissima and its larger cousin Aloe dichotoma, often called the Quiver Tree, and the flowers of these two are nearly identical. Some botanists favor classifying Aloe ramosissima as a smaller form of the more widespread A. dichotoma rather than a species in its own right. In any case, it is an attractive and unusual succulent with showy canary-yellow flowers and wonderfully-textured bark.

The flowers of Aloe ramosissima appear in November and December at the Ruth Bancroft Garden. The inflorescence is not large (up to about 8 inches, or 20 cm), but it bears dozens of chubby tubular flowers which are each about 1⅓ inches long (35 mm). Though an inflorescence may be unbranched, there are usually one or two side branches.

A. ramosissima flowersA. ramosissima branch


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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. 
Grant Funders

The Ruth Bancroft Garden would like to recognize the following grant funders:

The Quest Foundation for funding our Education Coordinator’s position

The Mervyn L. Brenner Foundation and The Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust for funding our directional signs.

The California Horticultural Society for funding towards our restoration projects.

The Ruth Bancroft Garden GardenConservancy