The bitter aloe is most famous for its medicinal qualities (4), provided by the golden-brown sap of the leaves (5). The long, tapering leaves are green, sometimes with a slightly blue or reddish tinge (4), and bear sharp, brown teeth on the margins, and sometimes also on the surface of the leaf. Indeed, the scientific name of this species alludes to the prickly leaves, as ferox means ‘fierce’ in Latin (5). The leaves are arranged in a rosette, and as the leaves age and die, they remain attached to the plant, forming a ‘petticoat’ of dried leaves around the base of the stem (4). The flowers of the bitter aloe vary in colour from red to orange and yellow, and occasionally white (6), and are borne on spike-like heads (4).
- Length: up to 3 m (2)