Will the real Aloe harlana please stand up?

rosemariero(Z9 SW SUNDiegoCA)September 22, 2005

Okay, I'm not any way sure about these. Is one, any, all or none of these Aloe harlana?

Thank you kindly!


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With my meagre knowledge of Aloe identification, I should steer clear of this one. However, is there a reason why they might not all be the same thing?


    Bookmark   September 23, 2005 at 9:36AM
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I know that Altman's always tags them as harlana, but as they are young, it might be hard to say for sure. My hunch is that they are seedlings of Aloe somaliensis, with a bit of variability as to color. I recall some threads where Jeff pointed out the differences between somaliensis, harlana, and one or two other similar species (I think somaliensis pups more, and doesn't get quite as large). I had two that appeared identical, but one blooms for me in September each year, and the other doesn't bloom at all!

    Bookmark   September 23, 2005 at 10:54AM
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rosemariero(Z9 SW SUNDiegoCA)

Thanks for your input, guys!

Well, Al, I do believe there is much variation within the species, so I think it is possible they're all the same. I was just wondering if anyone could say, "Yes, that's a harlana." I know it gets mixed up easily with others.

You're right, Ray...Altmans tags are fun to figure out. I went around in a tizzy awhile back with 3 other Aloe. I posted them & Peyton, Desert Gardener & Maddy gave input on names. I still am not sure on those, but Aloe somaliensis was one possibility & Aloe hemmingii was another.

I think branching or not of the inflorescence was a key in distinguishing the two. Of those other Aloes of mine, I was leaning toward Aloe hemmingii. *Oh~I just found my notes ~Maddy said: Aloe hemmingii is smaller than A. somaliensis and has a single inflorescence, whereas somaliensis has leaves on average 20cm long and a branched inflorescence. Now, I'll be sidetracked looking for my pix of the flowers of those plants. Oh boy! (I'm pretty sure there was no branching.)


    Bookmark   September 23, 2005 at 11:28AM
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I sent a link to a pic of a full-size Aloe harlana in the ground to Jeffrey sometime back. It was in full glorious bloom with a deep, lacquer-red bloom spike.

I have aloes A. somaliensis and A. macdougallii(sp?) among others. Until they bloom, they are difficult to tell which is which.

Having said that however, I will say this about your image. The general two-tone color of A. harlana is more like the topmost aloe on your right side. However, the color of the spines and the narrower leaves of A. harlana are more like the other two aloes in the pic. Aloe harlana is pretty consistent in the way it looks, there isn't very much variation. The leaves are only moderately wide and fairly long. The spines are a light brown and moderately widely spaced. The lighter colored streaks are long and the contrast is very mild between the light and dark green colors--actually more complementing than contrasting. More like a pea green and a slightly lighter pea green (if that makes any sense). Also, the amount of the two colors is pretty much even. Also (to me at least), the leaves of A. harlana have a polished look.

As you can see, I don't speak technical.


    Bookmark   September 23, 2005 at 1:30PM
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One last thing...

My Aloe somaliensis has pretty much matured, so it blooms year-round now. It sends up spikes about every three months.


    Bookmark   September 23, 2005 at 1:34PM
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rosemariero(Z9 SW SUNDiegoCA)

Thanks, Ron for all the info! I like that nontechnical speak!

I would love to see your full grown specimen sometime, if you still have a pic of it.

I will watch these as they grow & see what they look like. That "pea green" description was pretty good! LOL

I think I will make notes on nametag stix to put in the pots.

Thanks a bunch!

    Bookmark   September 23, 2005 at 10:41PM
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Ohio_Green_Thumb(Zone 5b NW Ohio)

Rosemarie, they're cute regardless of what they are. I just love Aloes for their variability! I have an A. harlana and its leaves are quite firm and glossy. Here's a pic of it. Don't know if it will help you any as mine is rather young too, but slightly bigger than yours. This is a 6" pot it's growing in.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2005 at 12:53PM
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Ohio_Green_Thumb(Zone 5b NW Ohio)

Hmm, I guess I'd better post a more recent photo. It's got a few more leaves since that photo was taken in July! Wow, times flies.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2005 at 1:43PM
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rosemariero(Z9 SW SUNDiegoCA)

Thanks for the pix of your plant to compare, Amy. I'll have to go look, but the Aloes I think of as A. hemmingii look very similar. Whichever they are, I like them with or without names. It's just if I'm going to share with others, I want a proper ID. I think the hemmingii have more bodacious spines on them!

Here are those 3 from last yr-when I 1st bought them (hemmingii, I think):


    Bookmark   September 24, 2005 at 3:23PM
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Ohio_Green_Thumb(Zone 5b NW Ohio)

Rosemarie, you may be onto something there with the "bodacious spines"! LOL

My plant's leaves are so firm I bet I could pick up the whole shebang just by lifting one leaf. Is it the same with yours? Also, it seems to be a moderately-paced grower.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2005 at 8:38PM
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rosemariero(Z9 SW SUNDiegoCA)

All of the plants (in the 1st pic & the last pic I posted), with the exception of the one with the most bodacious spines (bottom, right in last pic) have thick leaves. I can pic up any of them by just 1 leaf. The one that doesn't have as think lvs. may have had that type of leaf in the beginning (as in the pic), but doesn't now...maybe due to doing poorly.


    Bookmark   September 26, 2005 at 9:21PM
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I have one of these plants which enjoyed the summer out on my deck. It's now flowering and I'm pretty sure it's A hemmingii.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2005 at 9:54AM
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rosemariero(Z9 SW SUNDiegoCA)

Thanks for the info & nice pix, Kniphofia! To me, they ALL look like Aloe hemmingii! LOL

The last bunch I bought (the 1st pix shown here, do look slightly different & I'm leaning toward Aloe harlana on those. I will compare the flowers when they decide to bloom & see if I can tell differences then. Your flowers look different from what I remember of my A. hemmingii when it was blooming. I think I need to dig out some pix! :)

Actually, I don't think I've seen ANY Aloe flowers that look the color of yours! Hmmm!?


    Bookmark   December 4, 2005 at 1:47PM
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greenlarry(UK 8/9)

They are fine looking Aloes!

    Bookmark   December 5, 2005 at 11:46AM
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I would discount the flower color at this time of year. My Aloes are all inside, and those that are blooming now are much paler/whiter than when they bloomed outside last summer. I'm assuming that availability of light, water, and nutrients may all play a part. My look alike to the above is also blooming, and is also very pale, but last year, it bloomed in September, and was more of a pink/mauve tint.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2005 at 12:21PM
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I looked at all the pictures and they appear to either be harlana they are not hemmingii. The Hemmingii looks different, It has the same glossy leaves but looks different.Mine NEVER gets babies. Maybe 1 every few years. THe other species that look alike get a bunch of babies and flower alot. The Hemmingii blooms maybe once a year. The inflo is mostly single but does branch. I have 2 full grown Hemmingii and 1 Harlana and they do resemble each other alot but there are differences.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2007 at 12:37AM
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