Saturday, September 6, 2014


Origin and geographic distribution:
Plants of the genus Aloe belong to the old world and are indigenous to Eastern and Southern Africa, the Canary Islands and Spain. The species spread to the Mediterranean basin and reached the West Indies, India, China and other countries in the 16th Century; and certain species are now cultivated for commercial purposes, especially in some of the West Indian islands of the north coast of South America. It is also cultivated throughout India.
There are approximately 360 species and sub-species in the succulent plant genus Aloe, distributed in tropical and sub-tropical Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and certain islands of the Indian Ocean, with the centres of diversity being South Africa (Transvaal) and the region of Eritrea, Ethiopia and Northern Somalia.. In East Africa, as defined by a review carried out by CITES (2003) there are nearly 200 taxa, many of which are naturally rare and confined to specific habitats. They grow best on rocky sites and hillsides in semi-arid lands and are drought tolerant.  Over 100 species are cultivated in the world with an overwhelming number of hybrids and cultivars.

Kenya has the greatest Aloe diversity amongst East African countries.  There are 57 species and sub species within the country. Close to 80 species of aloe are known to exist in Kenya, of which more than 80% of them are to be found in the rangelands. A lot of interest has been shown in aloes’ commercialisation in the semi-arid districts where they grow naturally in the wild. Their cultivation and industrialization in these areas would serve as a secure cash income in areas of uncertain food cultivation, improve environmental conservation and also increase household income as the plant is able to establish and survive under hostile conditions. Aloe is also popular garden and pot plant. 
In the United States, most of the aloe vera is grown in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas, Florida and Southern California. Internationally, Aloe vera can be found in Mexico, the Pacific Rim countries, India, South America, Central America, the Caribbean, Australia and Africa.
The Aloe vera is a perennial, succulent plant with fleshy leaves. It is a native of North Africa. Now the plant is much more widespread and can be found growing throughout Europe and North America as well as South America, the Middle East, China, India, Pakistan and Australia.

Aloe plants may be found in temperate zones as cultivated crops or ornamentals, but must be protected from freezing water. Various species range from tiny, stemless plants only and inch or two high, to climbing and trailing forms, tall clustering shrubs, and tree-like specimens, 30 to 60 feet high, with trunks as much as 10 feet in circumference, which may be found in remote districts of Southwest Africa and Natal.

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