Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Jewelled Aloe, Golden Tooth Aloe
Aloe perfoliata var. distans

Family: Aloaceae
Genus: Aloe (AL-oh) (Info)
Species: perfoliata var. distans

Synonym:Aloe mitriformis subsp. distans
Synonym:Aloe perfoliata var. distans
Synonym:Aloe distans
Synonym:Aloe mitriformis

One vendor has this plant for sale.

10 members have or want this plant for trade.

Cactus and Succulents

6-12 in. (15-30 cm)
12-18 in. (30-45 cm)

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)
10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall

Grown for foliage

Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
This plant is fire-retardant

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From herbaceous stem cuttings
From seed; germinate in a damp paper towel
From seed; germinate in vitro in gelatin, agar or other medium

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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There are a total of 31 photos.
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2 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive thistlesifter On Feb 6, 2007, thistlesifter from Vista, CA wrote:

The image captured (by thistlesifter) presents a distinct tight conical-shaped capitate inflorescense. Reynolds in his classic "Aloes of South Africas" shows the earliest known drawing of Aloe mitriformis created in the late 1700s. The monochrome line drawing has exactly the same capitate-style flower, that is atypical to any other illustrated in this plant file.

Reynolds states in text (in above reference) that the species has much variability in form and habit. He acknowledges having seen this capitate form in European collections, but it was his belief that it only existed in European collections, not in the field. Evidently he never encountered one in his field activities. This plant continues to grow as a single-headed plant (no offsets), that is the same as is described for the capitate variety in Reynold's book.

I have another specimen (different clone). It flowers with less of the capitate characteristic and has less of the blue (irredescense) seen in this image. I have crossed the two and and growing a few seedlings. Hopefully, I will be able to develop this beautiful strain, by creating more seedlings by super selection.

Please contact me by Dmail if you have this strain and wish to swap pollen.


Positive palmbob On Aug 19, 2003, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

This plant (and I will direct my comments ONLY to the 'distans' form of this species in the next few paragraphs) is commonly found in the local botanical gardens, and shows a great variety of color of the leaves, as well as the brightly colored flowers. It is a profusely suckering and trailing species (looks VERY different in general form from the 'other species' listed here), and one plant can eventually cover a large area.

THe 'distans' form of this species is a sprawling form of Aloe- it crawls along the ground or up along trunks and rocks. It suckers and then moves slowly across the landsape like a bunch of spiny blue-green snakes with yellow spots and teeth. The flowers are a circular arrangement of simple, coral tubular petals and quite attractive and are identicle to those of Aloe mitriformis. If given room to spread, it can make a great specimen plant for a xeriscape garden.

Note, this aloe has now been (incorrectly in my opinion) benn lumped together with Aloe mitriformis. I personally think there should still be a distinction between this plant (Aloe distans I will continue to refer to it as) and the other 'forms' of aloe perfoliata as this plant grows very unlike the others and at a different pace. If anything I would refer to this aloe as Aloe pefoliata var. distans... then at least people know what plant you are referring to.

I found Aloe 'distans' it to be an easy grow and not necessarily a big attractor of ants and their associated pests... though it is sometimes infected with aloe mite.

Aloe 'mitriformis' is a larger plant, but another 'crawler', though it does not make the long 'snakes' of plant material that Aloe 'distans' does. Plant looks like a robust form of Aloe 'distans' with exactly the same flowers.

These all are definitely some of the more cold hardy aloes showing no damage to temps in the mid 20s in southern California.

South African native


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Apache Junction, Arizona
Carefree, Arizona
Encinitas, California
Hayward, California
Mission Viejo, California
Norwalk, California
Perris, California
Reseda, California
San Leandro, California
San Mateo, California
Spring Valley, California
Tarzana, California
Thousand Oaks, California
Vista, California (2 reports)

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