"There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion" Francis Bacon 1561-1626

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Leaf of the Day: Aloe Rivierei

This is only the top section of this fearsome leaf, again from Mead Gardens.
I am assuming this is the Rivierei because it was growing very close to the water and has very long slender leaves, rather than the shorter leaves with the fatter bases that the Aloe Vera plants have. Aloe Vera grows everywhere here and of course is very well know for its medicinal properties. There is large and dangerous one lurking at the bottom of the steps which accosts the skirts and trousers of unwary visitors.
The aloes are another huge group of plants with many different variations. The name means 'bitter' and, interestingly, the aloes were one of the plants used by the Egyptians in the embalming process. Their employment in the history in medicine is extensive and is something I will return to when I have another aloe to draw...as I surely will!

This drawing is 9 inches high and this small piece took up all of the sketch book page, so I think the whole leaf from top to bottom would be 25 to 30 inches long.
It's very very tough, has thorns like saw teeth and did some damage to the inside of my handbag. The thorns themselves are red tipped.

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Aloe Rivierei