Aloe anticipation at UC Davis

The University of California Davis campus has several aloe hot spots (see this post from February). Curious to find out whether any of their aloes are flowering yet, I decided to go on a little outing yesterday. (Weekends are best for a campus visit since parking is free.)

As always, I parked next to the Botanical Conservatory greenhouses and began my walk there. This is what I found.

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The flower spikes on the tall Aloe littoralis in front of the greenhouse are further along than I’d thought…


…while this Aloe littoralis


…is just starting


Aloe arborescens (yellow-flowering form) looked fantastic already

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Aloe arborescens (yellow-flowering form)


Aloe arborescens (regular red-flowering form) is a bit further behind


I noticed weird deposits on this Aloe arborescens. I think it’s just paint splatter. They must have repainted the greenhouse windows over the summer.

My next stop was the Cycad Garden in front of Storer Hall. Not much blooming here yet.


No sign of flowering yet, but still beautiful: Aloe comosa (next to Encephalartos horridus)


Aloe melanacantha

141123_UCDA_Aloe camperi Cornuta

Aloe camperi ‘Cornuta’ cuttings waiting to be planted. It looks a bit like an aloe cemetery!

From Storer Hall I took the path between the Sciences Lab Building and Haring Hall. This planting area has quite a few aloes. The only one blooming right now is Aloe suprafoliata.

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Aloe ferox and tree grape (Cyphostemma juttae) in flower


Aloe ferox and tree grape (Cyphostemma juttae) in flower


Lotsa aloes


Front left: Aloe suprafoliata  Front right: Aloe hereroensis  Back: Aloe ferox

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Aloe suprafoliata is the only one blooming already


Aloe suprafoliata

And finally the plantings in front of the Sciences Lab Building along Hutchison Drive. None of the aloes are blooming yet, although I found an emerging flower stalk on what is possibly a hybrid between Aloe striata and Aloe buhri (as per Ernesto Sandoval, the director of the Botanical Conversatory).


Aloes next to Sciences Lab Building

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Left: Aloe ferox  Middle: Aloe marlothii  Right: Aloe comosa


Possible Aloe striata × buhrii hybrid

This area has lots of cool plants. I was glad to see Echium wildpretii growing in various places. I’ll be back in May to photograph these towers of jewels in full bloom.

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Aloe mitriformis and tower of jewels (Echium wildpretii)

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Aloe × spinosissima and tower of jewels (Echium wildpretii)

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Agave victoria-reginae in front of Echium candicans ‘Star of Madeira’

The peak of the aloe flowering season is still a couple of months away. This gives you plenty of time to plan a trip in late January or early February. Davis is only 1½ hours from San Francisco or 2 hours from San Jose.


I’d like to thank Ernesto Sandoval for helping me ID several of the aloes you see in this post.


Blooming aloes on the UC Davis campus


  1. Not long now and isn't it nice to have this to look forward to in January/February when there's not usually much going on plant wise during those months? :)

    1. I agree! It's great having something to look forward to in the dead of winter. I find aloe flowers very cheery--a great antidote to seasonal affective disorder!

  2. Lots of beautiful aloes, and that last Agave victoria-reginae is stunning - but the Encephalartos lehmanii really took my breath away!

    1. I do have a thing for Encephalartos. So graceful and wicked at the same time. I just wish they weren't so slow-growing. But then, that's the way of the cycad.

      BTW, the plant in the photo may actually be a different Encephalartos species. My own E. lehmanii doesn't have twisted leaves like that. It could be E. horridus. I'll find out from UC Davis.

    2. Ernesto Sandoval of UC Davis confirmed that it's an Encephalartos horridus, not lehmanii.

  3. Looking at all these mature Aloes planted outside, I went to Sunset to see what zone Davis is compared with 14 for both. Think might need to push the envelope a little.

    1. We're USDA zone 9b. I think that's the same as Napa, right?

      I'm all about pushing the zone envelope. Often it works! At least until we get that once-in-a-decade winter, ha ha.

  4. What a nice thing to have to look forward to, between you and Hoov I suspect there will be plenty of blooming aloe photos to enjoy in the grey winter months.

    1. I'll do my best to keep you supplied with aloe photos through the winter :-).

  5. Nice! They all look great. Comosa is very pretty with that aqua foliage. First capitata flowerette opened this morning here, and 'Sparkler' is close.

    The weatherman here is predicting real actual rain next Monday--hope you get it also, just not all of it.


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