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15 Apr 2018

Aloe (Liliaceae)

Name probably derived from an Arabic or Hebrew term with the meaning of “bitter”. Already in the first century d. C. Dioscorides used the Greek word albe for the name of the plant and from this it was also coined the term aloeddrion to indicate the purge that was extracted. The genus includes succulent evergreen, African, some of which, naturalized in the Mediterranean area, have sharp leaves almost always arranged in rosette and almost all with marginal spines. Similar to Agave (see), with which they are often confused, however they are largely caulescent and have showy panicle inflorescences with red, yellow or orange flowers. In the juvenile form, many species have dichotomous leaves which, except for a few species, change their position with age, spiraling and assuming the final rosette shape. Some species are of economic importance for the condensed juice that is extracted from the fleshy leaves, with a very bitter taste and which, variously processed, constitutes a digestive tonic in very small doses and in moderate doses a mild purgative. THERE. arborescens and the A. true are spontaneous in Southern Italy and on the Riviera and rustic in other mild climates of the peninsula.

Naturalized in the Mediterranean area, the Aloe, similar to this and sometimes confused with Agave, has fleshy, large, pointed leaves, fitted at the edges with large spines and arranged to form a large tuft.
Naturalized in the Mediterranean area, the Aloe, similar to this and sometimes confused with Agave, has fleshy, large, pointed leaves, fitted at the edges with large spines and arranged to form a large tuft.

Cultivated species of Aloe:

Aloe arborescens reaches up to 6 m tall, is very ramified, forms real bushes with numerous basal suckers, has open rosettes of narrow and thorny leaves, often curved outwards when they grow old, until they lean towards the stem disseccandosi; It has red flowers. A. brevifolia, a low species, with many suckers that form dense colonies of rosettes with glaucous and robust leaves, triangular and carinated, also spiny on the inferior, semirustica page; there is a var. depressed and a variegated. A. ciliaris, sarmentosa, with thin and ramified stems and little fleshy leaves, spaced along the stems as they lengthen, slightly thorny, scarlet flowers with greenish tip. Aloe ferox has a rather tall and sturdy stem with large, fleshy leaves, hollowed on the upper page and bent on the lower one, very strong brown spines. The leaves retain a distal arrangement for a long time and only the older plants form a real rosette; it almost never emits suckers. Aloe mitriformis, rosette of fleshy and concave green leaves with pale marginal spines that are generally persistent throughout the length of the stem that can reach one meter. It forms many basal suckers until it gives rise to small bushes with red flowers. A. plicatilis, a species very different from the others, has narrow dichotomous leaves and fleshy green-glaucous with very thin indentation on the white margin, brought on the tip of the large branched stems that grow very slowly until forming a shrub of about 2 m. emits suckers and stem cuttings root with difficulty. Aloe striated, large rosette almost acaulous, with broad fleshy gray-glaucous leaves slightly striated longitudinally, one of the rare unarmed species, with white margins that become pink in the sun, almost never emits polyions and has been hybridized with many other species. A. variegata, a dwarf species that reaches a maximum of 30 cm and grows slowly, with fleshy and pointed azure-glaucous leaves with irregular white streaks, imbricate in trine order and very faired, with finely serrated white margins and apical spine. It can be used successfully as a houseplant since it supports a certain degree of winter heat.

Cultivation:

the cultivation of Aloe in Italy is easy, as long as it is important to keep in mind that they must have a very permeable soil, not organic, although rather rich and very fearful of the rot; the waterings must therefore be dosed appropriately, except during the summer. All require only frost protection, as long as they are kept dry in colder periods. They are multiplied by suckers or cuttings of shoots or stems; those that do not emit, propagate by seed which is however of rather slow growth; plants that emit suckers hardly, can be encouraged to do so by pruning them, in which case the top of the stem can also be used as a cuttings. Any type of cutting must be carried out on just wet sand after the wound has been left to dry.


Also read: Alocasia (Araceae).

04 Apr 2018

Albuca (Liliaceae)

The name probably derives from the Latin albus, in relation to the fact that the first, discovery had white flowers. a genus to which rustic or semi-rustic plants belong, bulbous, with white or yellow flowers, found in tropical and southern Africa.

Coming from tropical and southern Africa, Albuca nelsonii has white flowers, slightly perfumed and with a characteristic waxy appearance.
Coming from tropical and southern Africa, Albuca nelsonii has white flowers, slightly perfumed and with a characteristic waxy appearance.

Cultivated species of Albuca:

A. altissima (50-60 cm), whose flowers are white and bloom in April; A. aurea (40 cm), with yellow flowers that bloom in May; Albuca fastigiata, up to m 1 in height, with white flowers in May; Albuca nelsonii (m 1), with white flowers in April-May.

Cultivation:

the bulbs can be placed in light and well-drained soil outdoors, possibly in a sunny corner and little exposed in the colder regions. To protect them from frost they are kept in the greenhouse or at home, using a soil composed of two parts of the fibrous earth, a part of sand and a part of peat and leaves, mixed in equal parts. They are invaded in November, placing three or four bulbs at 6-7 cm deep for each 10 cm diameter vase; they are kept in the dark until the beginning of the germination; during the growth period they are watered freely, but this operation is suspended after flowering. The flowers, slightly perfumed, are carried by a rigid scape that rises above the ribbon-like leaves. Outdoors the bulbs are planted at the end of winter, at a depth of 10 cm and are removed in late autumn, after the fall of the leaves. In the milder climate regions, they can be left on the ground, with light plastic protections or other.

16 Mar 2018

Agapanthus (Liliaceae)

The name derives from the Greek agàpe «amore», ànthos «flower» and means flower of love. It is a genus of South-African origin, to which belong generally herbaceous, perennial, evergreen plants.

The blue-colored flowers of the Agapanthus campanulatus.
The blue-colored flowers of the Agapanthus campanulatus.

Cultivated species Agapanthus:

A. africanus is a species whose blue-violet flowers bloom in summer; it can reach m 1 in height. The vars are known. albus with white flowers and nanus that has reduced dimensions. Agapanthus campanulatus (left Agapanthus umbellatus mooreanus) is about fifty centimeters tall, it blooms from July to September; the flowers are sky blue, while in the var. albus are white. Agapanthus inapertus is about 1 m tall, has hanging blue bell-shaped flowers; flowering in summer. Agapanthus orientalis is erroneously known as A. umbellatus perhaps because the flowers are collected in large umbels which can carry from 30 to 60 flowers each. It can reach 50 or 60 cm in height; it is cultivated quite frequently; also of this species, the var is known. albus with white flowers. Recently Headbourne hybrids have been marketed which are more rustic than other species; their colors vary from pale blue to dark blue-purple.

Cultivation:

it requires rather large and low containers because the roots are very vigorous and tend to break the normal vessels; it can, therefore, be practiced also in the ground where the plants can remain during the winter period as long as you have the foresight to cover the foot with a blanket of leaves or straw. A suitable culture medium consists of 3 parts of fibrous soil, 1 part of well-decomposed leaf soil, 1 part of mature fertilizer and 1/2 part of sand. The tubers must be buried at a depth of about 15-20 cm; an abundant distribution of water is necessary during the vegetative period, from spring to autumn, and it is advisable to administer liquid fertilizer before and during flowering. In the colder regions, during winter, the A should be repaired. in cold greenhouses or in rooms where the temperature does not drop below zero; no watering is necessary. The multiplication is done by division, preferably in late spring, although it can be done in any season; it is better, however, to manipulate the plant as little as possible to obtain the best results. Reproduction from seed is not recommended because it takes a few years before it is flowered.


Also read: Aethionema (Cruciferae).