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Plantidote of the Day 2011-01-20

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aloe marlotthi

Aloe marlothii

Tree aloe

In the plant world, the word "aloe" covers a lot of territory. Dwarf aloes are only a few inches high, while the tree versions are mammoths. The one in the image above -- an Aloe marlothii -- is somewhere between 15 and 20 feet high. Aloe vera, the most famous member of the group because of its reputation as a remedy for various intestinal ailments and skin conditions, tends to stay on the small side, usually growing no larger than two feet high.

In addition to the ones mentioned above, there are dozens of other aloes. They are all handsome plants, drought tolerant and very tough, except when it comes to frost. In colder climates, they can be grown in pots, and brought indoors during the worst weather. Just watch out for the spiny thorns on the leaves -- one of the few downsides of these outstanding plants.

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Readers, please send twig (twig4now@gmail.com) images and stories for the ongoing Plantidote of the Day series. In exchange, you'll win undying fame in the form of a hat tip! Plants growing in your garden, your house, or neighbor's yard, plants from the forest or farmers' market, plants you preserved, plants you prepared (wine; cider; tea; dried beans), plants you harvested (grains; chanterelles), plants you picked (flowers), plants you dried (herbs), plants you covet or hope to grow someday. Herbal remedies, propagation tips, new varieties, etc.. And if you can, include some solid detail about the plant, too -- a story, the genus and species, or where you got the seeds, or the recipe, or your grandmother gave it to you. Or challenge us with a "Name That Plant" mystery entry ... And please feel free to add corrections and additional information in the comments.

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