Friday, March 4, 2016

UC Davis aloes at peak bloom

The Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek and the University of California Botanical Garden at Berkeley have impressive aloe plantings, the best in Northern California. While the University of Davis campus isn’t quite in the same league, it’s still worth a visit at this time of year to see its aloes in bloom.

It took the photos for this post last weekend (February 27). If anything, the flowers should be even better this weekend (March 5).

Let’s start in front of the Sciences Lab Building along Hutchison Drive. It’s here on the interactive campus map.

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Look at what’s waiting!

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Getting closer…

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…and closer…

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…and closer

You know what’s most impressive about this bed? It gets watered once a year. Yes, that’s right. Once a year, usually in late August or early September. That’s what Ernesto Sandoval, the director of the UC Davis Botanical Conservatory, revealed at a recent presentation at the Sacramento Cactus and Succulent Society.

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Aloe ferox (red) and Aloe marlothii (orange)

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Aloe ferox (red) and Aloe marlothii (orange)

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Aloe marlothii

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Aloe ferox (red) and Aloe marlothii (orange)

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LEFT: Aloe microstigma RIGHT: Aloe microstigma and Aloe × spinosissima

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One last wide shot of the bed in front/next to the Sciences Lab Building

Next stop. the alley between the Sciences Lab Building and Haring Hall (here on the map). Here you’ll find a bed planted with aloes, euphorbias and other African succulents.

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Aloe ferox in bloom. The smaller aloes (done blooming) are Aloe suprafoliata.

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Aloe ferox

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Aloe marlothii, not quite blooming yet

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Aloe humilis, also not quite there yet

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Aloe africana

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Aloe africana

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Aloe arborescens, providing a touch of beauty in an otherwise drab spot

From the alley behind Haring Hall I walked over to the UC Davis Cycad Garden in front of Storer Hall (here on the map). The African cycads are interplanted with many different aloes.

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Glimpse of aloes through the pepper trees (Schinus molle)

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This large aloe is either Aloe marlothii or a hybrid with Aloe ferox

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Wild turkeys busy looking for bugs. They were completely disinterested in the Aloe × spinosissima. There are wild turkeys all over town.

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Partridge breast aloe. Its botanical name used to be Aloe variegata, but a few years ago it was moved to a new genus, Gonialoe. Its new name is Gonialoe variegata. Read this post for more information on the big aloe shakeup.

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Aloe ferox and Encephalartos horridus

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Wider view of this bed

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The blooming aloe in the foreground is Aloe melanacantha. The pale-green aloe behind it is Aloe comosa.

My final stop was the Botanical Conservatory on Kleiber Hall Drive. There are a bunch of aloes right along the street, many of which are in bloom right now.

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Aloe microstigma

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Aloe microstigma and Aloe striata (foreground)

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Aloe microstigma

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Aloe littoralis, not quite blooming yet

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A bunch of stuff here. Aloe arborescens on the right and Aloe littoralis in the middle (the tall one).

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Aloe ciliaris

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LEFT: Possible hybrid between Aloe ferox and Aloe arborescens (according to Ernesto Sandoval, director of the Botanical Conservatory). The tall plants in the distance on the right are Aloe ferox.

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Aloe ferox

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I love this view. This is the parking lot on the east side of the Botanical Conservatory.

If you want to check out these aloes in person, I suggest you come on the weekend. Parking is free on Saturday and Sunday. Otherwise it’s $9 for a daily visitor permit. Follow the driving and parking directions on the Botanical Conservatory website.

4 comments:

  1. That Aloe africana bloom picture is great! I like all the bloom parts sticking out. How great that they have all these aloes.

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  2. great reminder to get out and explore peak aloe bloom locally too, thanks!

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  3. WOW -- fabulous! Thanks for all the photos.

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