(Editor's Note: this article was originally published on January 3, 2008. Your comments are welcome, but please be aware that authors of previously published articles may not be able to respond to your questions.)

ImageThough this is a rare and unique looking spotted aloe from central Africa, its flowers look anything but- Aloe macrosiphon

ImageAnd this is probably the second most commonly grown aloe in cultivation, only second to Aloe vera. this is the typical open, head-shaped pink-orange raceme of Aloe maculata

ImageA synonym for Aloe maculata (which means spotted) is Aloe saponaria, which is probably the name most growers would recognize. This is the yellow-flowering version.

ImageAloe madecassa has one of the more typical narrowly conical open racemes seen in many of the stemless non-South African aloes- not highly ornamental but still pleasant

ImageAloe marlothii is probably one of the most recognizable tree aloes, with its huge spiny head of blue-green leaves. But even more striking are its flowers

ImageThe inflorescence of this plant is unique in being highly branched, very wide and having nearly one-sided, sloping racemes, usually of brilliant orange. Few aloe flowers are this spectacular

ImageAloe spectabilis, considered a synonym of Aloe marlothii, is a variety that has bicolored flowers and a far less spreading inflorescence... but sill a magnificent flower (this plant fell over, which is why there is soil under it)

ImageHere is another view of this form of Aloe marlothii

ImageAloe marlothii is also a popular aloe to hybridize, mostly due to its amazing flowers. This is Aloe marlothii x capitata

ImageAnother amazing Aloe marlothii hybrid

ImageAloe massawana has far less spectacular flowers, but still an amazing color of red in total contrast to the plants deep green leaves

ImageSome confuse this much rarer tree aloe species, Aloe mawei, with Aloe marlothii thanks to the one-sided swooping racemes... but this central African plant has unbranched inflorescences of deep orange or scarlet red

ImageThough currently called Aloe 'Medusa', this Aloe barberae look-alike is quite rare in cultivation and has very short, thick racemes of pale orange on similarly short peduncles

ImageThis is an Aloe melanacantha hybrid (with Aloe arborescens) and develops these startling, bicolored flowers

ImageAloe microstigma, one of the most popular aloes due to is amazing variety of flower colors, looks similar to the above flower being bicolored and having moderately open, conical racemes

ImageThese orange-yellow flower are also Aloe microstigma... they come in yellow, too. The introductory photo to this article shows a colony of Aloe microstigmas in a private garden in southern California

ImageAloe mitiformis has wide, conical, symmetrical densely flowered racemes

ImageThis is a mass planting of Aloe mitriformis in the Los Angeles arboretum, near end of flowering cycle in summer

ImageThese Aloe mudenensis flowers are a deep orange-red in fall to winter

ImageAloe mutabilis is often confused with the much more common Aloe arborescens, mostly because the plants themselves look similar... but this species as bicolored flowers

ImageClose up of Aloe mutabilis flower

ImageAloe nyeriensis is another less commonly seen plant in cultivation but this one has late winter to spring blooms

ImageAloe nobilis, the Gold Tooth Aloe, is another popular potted and lanscape plant. The deep red flowers bloom in summer

ImageGreat for mass plantings, this spotted South African aloe, Aloe parvibracteata, has deep pink flowers on the tops of their tall, sturdy inflorescences

ImageAloe pendens does not have a spectacular flower, but it blooms nearly all year long

ImageThe racemes of Aloe percrassa are similar unspectacular, but there are a lot more of them per plant

ImageThis is probably one of the best aloes for mass plantings- Aloe petricola.

ImageThe flowers are spectacular with their brilliant bicolored, compact corn-cob-like racemes of red and yellow, or red and white, or orange and white

ImageAloe petrophila (meaning rock-loving) is a typical looking spotted South African aloe but with a very atypical and highly ornamental flower- branched with short, dense, head-shaped racemes of delicately striped pink flowers

ImageThis is a hybird aloe at the Huntington Gardens called Pink Perfection- looks like another Aloe arborescens hybrids

ImageAloe pluridens hybrid in southern California in winter

ImageOne of the few striking aloe flowers in early summer in southern California- Aloe porphyrostachys

ImageClose-up of the flowers themselves on this slightly abnormally wide, almost cristate raceme, in May

ImageAloe pretoriensis has racemes that look just like Aloe suprafoliata, except they are on this ultra tall, branching inflorescence

ImageClose-up of Aloe pretoriensis flower. The plant ALSO looks exactly like Aloe suprafoliata, so it is the inflorescence that allows one to tell them apart

ImageAloe 'Principes' is a variable Aloe arborescens hybrid, but one of the most amazing flowering aloes there is.

ImageThis variety is growing in a different botanical garden

ImageThey are consistently bicolored and brilliant

ImageSomewhat of a rare mid-African plant, this Aloe rabaiensis has open, abreviated globoid racemes several times throughout the year

ImageThis is basically a highly branching form of Aloe dichotoma, but usually listed as a separate species (Aloe ramosissima)

ImageAloe reitzii has oddly flattened flowers that are highly ornamental in late summer

ImageThis is a hybrid between Aloe reitzii and Aloe rivae

ImageAloe reynoldsii is very difficult sometimes to tell from Aloe striata, until it flowers- these very open yellow racemes are distinctive

ImageThese delicate flowers belong to Aloe rivae, another summer bloomer

ImageAloe Rooikappie is a very popular hybrid thanks to its highly ornamental tight, conical bicolored racemes

Imageand the fact that it blooms year round

ImageAloe rubroviolacea has dense, elongated conical racemes that are much thicker than most other non-tree aloes

ImageThis tree aloe, Aloe rupestris, develops these corn-cob-like racemes in winter

Be sure to check out the next part (4) when we go through the last Aloes in the alphabet with some of the most beautiful flowers of all the aloes!