Plant ID forum: What exactly is this?

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Knno
Dec 12, 2015 2:03 AM CST
Please help me know the scientific name of this main big plant the one with thorns


Name: Janet Super Sleuth
Near Lincoln UK
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JRsbugs
Dec 12, 2015 7:03 AM CST
Welcome!

As the spots are in rows, it's likely to be Aloe zebrina ..

http://www.plantzafrica.com/plantab/aloezebrina.htm

bear large oblong whitish spots more or less arranged in a series of irregular transverse bands


http://www.cactus-art.biz/schede/ALOE/Aloe_zebrina/Aloe_zebr...
Name: Lin
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plantladylin
Dec 12, 2015 1:14 PM CST
Looks a lot like one I have Soap Aloe (Aloe maculata)

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Name: Janet Super Sleuth
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JRsbugs
Dec 12, 2015 1:44 PM CST
Are you sure your plant is Aloe maculata Lin?

The leaves on that species are broader near the base ..

http://www.jardinexotiqueroscoff.com/site/plante/1241/aloe-m...
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
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plantladylin
Dec 12, 2015 2:48 PM CST
Janet, I'm not certain. It was identified years ago as Soap Aloe (Aloe saponaria) which I learned later is a synonym for A. maculata. That photo above is from May 2011 when the plant was young. Here are two photos taken earlier this year:
Any ideas of which it might be if not A. maculata?

March 15, 2015 ........................................ close up - May 10, 2015
Thumb of 2015-12-12/plantladylin/4d71c7 Thumb of 2015-12-12/plantladylin/c618f6




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Name: Janet Super Sleuth
Near Lincoln UK
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JRsbugs
Dec 12, 2015 3:27 PM CST
Yours could well be Aloe zebrina Lin, they are variable, you can see the spots are in sort of rows in places.

http://lapshin.org/succulent/Israel/08-Tel-Aviv-BotGard/Aloe...

Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
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plantladylin
Dec 12, 2015 5:02 PM CST
I have 17 photos of this plant at the entry for A. maculata but since the true identity is in question, later tonight or tomorrow I will propose to have them moved to the general entry for Aloe.

Thanks Janet!
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Name: Suzanne/Sue
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Calif_Sue
Dec 25, 2015 10:34 PM CST

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I have to agree with Janet, @plantladylin, yours doesn't look like A. maculata to me either. The leaves look too long and narrower at the base as she mentioned. I have photographed it in two botanical gardens, a few nurseries and several other gardens and have one in my garden. As Marilyn noted from wikipedia in the comments section, it can be variable but one thing that is distinct are the H shaped spots, I think that means they are closer together as my photo show, that's how I interpret it anyway, I may be wrong. Shrug! Yours seem more scattered.


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Name: Thijs van Soest
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mcvansoest
Jan 10, 2016 12:55 AM CST
Hi, those are all wonderful plants and those spotted patterns on those Aloes are really great, but I would like to point out that trying to ID Aloes by their spots, spot patterns and leaf shape is a very difficult undertaking as their are very many spotted Aloes with similar leaf shapes, and especially leaf shape can be dependent on growing conditions. Before I would put a name on a NOID spotted Aloe, I would certainly want to see the shape and size of the inflorescence and the flowers, which tends to be more definitive than spot patterns and/or leaf shapes. A. zebrina has a very different inflorescence and flower than A. maculata. So for the plant in the first picture, I would suggest waiting for it to flower before making a definitive decision on its name.
Name: Suzanne/Sue
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Calif_Sue
Jan 10, 2016 10:39 PM CST

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@mcvansoest Welcome! to ATP and thank you for your comments! Additional photos of the same plant with bloom are in the 5th post here.
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mcvansoest
Jan 10, 2016 11:52 PM CST
@Calif_Sue Thank You!

I would say the flowers on the plant in post #5 look a lot like those one would expect for A. maculata and not at all like those of A. zebrina, but that basically just means it is not A. zebrina, and it could be some other spotted Aloe. However, the flowers are definitely A. maculata-like just a little more open than one would expect - that flat topped inflorescence of the plants in your pictures is very distinctive for the species -, but this could be because of growing conditions or could indicate it is a hybrid.

If the plant came with the A. saponaria label, my guess would be that it is either the correct plant just with a different shape (see below) or a hybrid of that plant - especially if it was grown from seed. Aloes hybridize incredibly easily and if it was propagated from seed from a plant that was open pollinated all bets are off in terms of it being a pure A. maculata. And that assumes that the nursery that grew the plant at least put the correct name to the best of its ability on the plant (which is unfortunately not always the case).
I quote from the entry for A. maculata in the 'Guide to the Aloes of South Africa' by van Wyck and Smith: 'The broadly triangular leaves vary considerably in length and shape...' and 'It hybridizes readily with a number of other Aloes, both in habitat and in gardens.'

Without flowers, I would not want to hazard a guess at the plant in post 1, because just looking a the 'Guide to Aloes of South Africa' in which 26 different spotted Aloes are listed and they all look very similar, and that selection is just limited to South Africa...

So the bottom line is: if you get one of these without a label (and in some case even if you get it with a label) getting an ID is going to be really hard, especially if the plant has not flowered yet. And even with flowers it is not always clear cut.
Name: Suzanne/Sue
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Calif_Sue
Jan 11, 2016 9:42 AM CST

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So in this case, it's often best just to add them to the generic aloe entry.
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Name: Baja
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Baja_Costero
Jan 11, 2016 12:15 PM CST
Yes. I agree completely with Thijs. Spotted aloes are a tricky bunch and many of them are easily confused. Without a flower an ID is basically a guess. Which is fine but in the meantime the generic aloe entry is probably the best place to put these pictures.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Jan 11, 2016 12:15 PM (+)]
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Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Jan 12, 2016 8:37 AM CST
Trying to keep up...
Please forgive me for being dense but the original poster Knno asked about a plant. Was it successfully identified as a Zebra Leaf Aloe (Aloe zebrina)?
Is the remainder of this thread about the plants belonging to @plantladylin? ( *Blush* Getting old causes occasional brain farts. Rolling on the floor laughing ) Thank You!

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Name: Suzanne/Sue
Sebastopol, CA (Zone 9a)
Sunset Zone 15
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Calif_Sue
Jan 12, 2016 11:05 AM CST

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Yeah, I'm with with you Greene, I got confused between the two posts, the original should go into the generic aloe entry too.
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Hand sewn wares and vintage finds in my Etsy store. Summer Song Cottage
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Jan 12, 2016 11:10 AM CST
Thank You!
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
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plantladylin
Jan 12, 2016 2:25 PM CST
All of my photos were removed from the A. maculata entry and put in the General Entry.
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Name: Thijs van Soest
Mesa, AZ (Zone 9b)
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mcvansoest
Jan 13, 2016 11:34 PM CST
I think the discussion regarding identifying spotted Aloes without a good flower picture applies to almost if not all of them.
So the plant in the original post is more an enigma than plantladylin's plant, where the flowers are distinctly A. maculata-like and definitely not zebrina, but where the growth habit might suggest some kind of hybrid or the influence of growing conditions.
I hope that clears things up.

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