Aloe Species, Medusa, Mozambique Tree Aloe

Aloe tongaensis

Family: Aloaceae
Genus: Aloe (AL-oh) (Info)
Species: tongaensis
View this plant in a garden



Cactus and Succulents

Foliage Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Water Requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Where to Grow:

Suitable for growing in containers


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)


20-30 ft. (6-9 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:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade

Light Shade

Partial to Full Shade


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:


Gold (Yellow-Orange)

Bloom Time:

Late Summer/Early Fall

Mid Fall





Provides winter interest

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

Unknown - Tell us

Seed Collecting:

Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds

Unblemished fruit must be significantly overripe before harvesting seed; clean and dry seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


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

Carefree, Arizona

Bonsall, California

Glen Avon, California

Hayward, California

Long Beach, California

Norwalk, California

Reseda, California

Spring Valley, California

Thousand Oaks, California

Vista, California

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Jan 21, 2008, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Now that I know what I'm looking for, I dont' think this plant is nearly as rare as I assumed it was.. have seen it for sale at a number of nurseries, often mistakenly identified as aloe barberae or bainsii. But it is a thinner-trunk, more higly branching and MUCH slower growing aloe with leaves that look a lot like those of an anemic Aloe barberae (thin and even more rubbery, if that is possible). I have noticed only a modicum of cold hardiness over Aloe barberae (both were severely damaged in last year's freeze, though Aloe barberae was 'more defoliated' than this one was). Flowers are distinctly different with the inflorescences arising at the top of the plant (as opposed to within the leaves of Aloe barberae) and often on peduncles up to 2' tall (very un-barberae-like) and flowers ... read more


On Dec 10, 2007, BayAreaTropics from Hayward, CA wrote:

I bought it as A.bainsaii..soon realized it wasn't..a few years later thought Aloe 'Hercules',it seems to be Aloe 'medusa'..but, mine and the one posted by Palmbob in his journal do not look like the photos posted by Thistlesifter. Mine does not have curved downwards or criss crossed leaves.They are stiffly upright. The midwinters flowers seem to be identical.The trunk is strikingly striated,accentuated when wet.
Aloe "medusa" seems to do better on regular summer irrigation and feeding also. That's un- barbarae like. A.medusa is also much more cold tolerant than barbarae,taking occasional temps into the 20's in stride.Those lows would melt A.barbarae.

Watch for aphid or mealy's that get into the leaf bases. Ants are the tip off of bad things going on. You might ... read more


On Feb 24, 2006, thistlesifter from Vista, CA wrote:

Edited 4-27-2011. Received word from Keven Coniff. "I wanted you to know that I think Aloe tongaensis and A. 'Medusa" are the same. Even though they are from different locations and there may be some differences in the floral description of A. tongaensis and A. 'Medusa' I think they are close and should be considered the same species."

Edited 4-10-2011. All the flowers here, except for those on my tree seem to be identical to those on the newly described Aloe tongaensis. Other keys are consistent with the description of other keys and images in the CSSJ Jan-Feb 2011.

Kevin Coniff has stated in another forum recently that the real Aloe medusa comes from a different location in Mozambique than that cited in reference to Aloe tongaensis. It is inferr... read more