Monday, 10 August 2015

Cape honeysuckle - Tecoma capensis

Unit fairly recently this magnificent very well known shrub was known as Tecomaria capensis

Tecoma capensis this is the colour of the specimens that grow locally in Durban this one having been grown from seed obtained at Burman Bush

Tecoma capensis belongs to the family, Bignoniaceae as do many other very showy shrubs and trees such the well known , Port St Johns creeper  Podranea ricasoliana which is well known and grown in other countries yet is seldom seen or grown here in South Africa. Although a had a very large specimen growing over the roof of my granny flat at my previous house in Durban I have not yet obtained one for my property here in Mount Moreland. The photo below was taken by me in Auckland New Zealand.

Port St Johns creeper  Podranea ricasoliana

The sausage tree Kigelia africana , Rhigozum obovatum, Rhigozum zambesiacum, as well as the foreign Jacaranda are other showy well known members of the family, Bignoniaceae.

Tecoma capensis occurs naturally in thicket and is widely distributed throughout the Northern Province, Mpumalanga, Swaziland, KwaZulu-Natal, Cape coast, Swaziland and southern Mozambique.
In Mount Moreland we have natural populations growing at the south end of the King Shaka Airport and on the cliffs down by the Umdloti River.

Tecoma capensis is well known and cultivated here in South Africa it is also well known and is cultivated in many other areas around the world in particular California in the USA where many colour forms have been developed.  While living in Auckland, New Zealand I found that Tecoma capensis is a very popular hedging plant in most of the older residential areas of the city.

As a child my parents had a Tecoma capensis hedge and I loved to pick the flowers early in the morning before the birds and honey bees got to them to sip the nectar from them.

Flowering time for this shrub is very erratic and often it flowers all year round. Flowers are tubular and bird pollinated, attracting nectar-feeding birds, especially sunbirds as well as honey bees.
Tecoma capensis is an ornamental garden plant commonly used for screening and decorative purposes. It can also be trimmed to form a hedge. It is often planted specifically to attract birds.

I have seen this very dark flowering form growing naturally next to the parks board landing strip at St Lucia

Propagating Tecoma capensis
Tecoma capensis is easy to propagate from hard wood cuttings that in sandy soils can simply be pushed into the ground and watered. They can also be grown from tip cuttings in a mist propagation unit, by removing rooted suckers during the active growth phase, and from seed.

Growing Tecoma capensis 
Cape honeysuckle is an easy to grown and fast growing, scrambling shrub which is evergreen but will loose its leaves if it gets too dry or if the temperatures fall below freezing.  Tecoma capensis produces masses of orange to deep red flowers, there is also a yellow variety which unfortunately does not attract birds to the flowers.
Tecoma capensis will grow in just about any soil. When being planted it will grow best if a good sized hole is dug and is backfilled with a mixture of one third compost mixed with the soil that came out of the hole and a little balanced fertilizer. Please do not forget to water the plants as soon after they have been planted as possible to settle them in, thereafter they will need sufficient water to keep them moist until established. Once well established Tecoma capensis does not need watering as they are extremely drought resistant. In areas that receive frost young plants and larger established plants that have newly been planted out need to protected for at least the first winter.
To keep this shrub clean and tidy and to ensure heavy flowering, it must be pruned back in late winter to promote new growth and flowers.  Mulching with plenty organic compost and the application of a balanced fertilizer after pruning will enhance the growth and flowering.

Tecoma capensis is a must for every garden that has been designed to attract wildlife in particular the garden that has been designed to attract sunbirds because it provides vast amounts of nectar at the times of year when there are far less or no other suitable flowering plants for them to feed on.

Ecological value
Nature conservation starts AT YOUR OWN FRONT DOOR so anyone who is serious about nature conservation and improving the natural environment for as large a variety of creatures as possible simply has to plant a number of these highly productive plants in their own garden.

If you do not have Tecoma capensis growing in your garden and are a doer and not just a talker you will plan today to buy and plant some of these magnificent local South African plants in your garden.

Mature plants can be bought from any nursery that has a good variety of plants for sale.

Michael Hickman
Landscape Design and Rehabilitation Specialist


Please do not leave this page without clicking on the G+ button below if you do not have a Google profile it is about time that you registered for one 

Saturday, 8 August 2015

South African Bees

Most South Africans are totally unaware that there are over 1 000 known species of bees in Southern Africa

Carpenter bee Xylocopa caffra

I have had an interest in honey bees since a was a young child and have kept hives since I was a teenager. Although I was aware that there were other bee species from an early age I knew little about them until many years later. My interest in wild bees was awaked in 1988 while visiting the Garten der Schmetterlinge Friedrichsruh , Butterfly Garden Friedrichsruh the ancestral home of Otto von Bismarck the first Imperial Chancellor (Reichskanzler) of the German Empire which is situated a few kilometers east of Hamburg.

Giant carpenter bee xylocopa flavorufa

A year or two later I was given the booklet Wildbienen –Schutz in Dorf und Stadt Wild bees - Protection in Town and City which greatly increased my interest in wild bees prompting me to implement many of the suggestions in the booklet in my own garden in Durban and to closely observe our own local wild bees at every opportunity, an interest that has remained to this very day.

Wild bees - Protection in Town and City

Bees which are related to wasps and ants belong to the Hymenoptera order of insects, characterised by their restricted waists.
Bees are the most important group of pollinators, almost all bees are pollinators, but only a few species make honey.
Pollination is often an intricate interaction between the plant and the pollinator both pollinator and plant biodiversity together maintain healthy ecosystems.

Wild bees
South Africa has many unique wild bee species belonging to the following families;

Colletidae - Membrane bees are often referred to collectively as plasterer bees or polyester bees, due to the method of smoothing the walls of their nest cells with secretions applied with their mouthparts; these secretions dry into a cellophane-like lining.
HalictidaeThey are commonly referred to as "sweat bees" (especially the smaller species), as they are often attracted to perspiration, which are usually dark-colored and often metallic in appearance
Melittidae - They are typically small to moderate-sized bees, several species specialize on floral oils as larval food rather than pollen,
Megachilidae - are most commonly known as mason bees and leafcutter bees, reflecting the materials from which they build their nest cells.  Megachilid bees are among the world's most efficient pollinators because of their energetic swimming-like motion in the reproductive structures of flowers, which moves pollen, as needed for pollination.
Anthophoridae  - Carpenter bees which as their name indicates nest in tunnels bored into wood they are solitary bees.
Apidae- Honey bees represented by Apis mellifera and Mopane bees Meliponula species

African Honey Bee Apis mellifera scutellata

Wild bees are more efficient pollinators that honey bees
A recent global study investigated the role and contribution of wild pollinators and managed honeybees as a pollination service to a range of annual and perennial fruit, seed, nut, and stimulant crops across 41 sites worldwide. This study indicated that crop fields with high numbers of both honeybees and wild pollinators resulted in sufficient pollen deposition. In contrast, it was shown that wild insect visitation alone significantly increased fruit set, by twice as much as honeybees did, suggesting wild pollinators provide more effective crop pollination. Moreover, fruit set was shown to increase consistently with visitation from wild pollinators and increased with visitation by a diverse assemblage of pollinators independent of honeybee visitation. The additive interaction between non-Apis pollinators and honeybees has been shown to increase fruit set. Recommendations for optimal pollination therefore sometimes call for the integration of wild pollinators with managed honeybees.

Honey Bees
Twenty-eight subspecies of Honey Bees Apis mellifera (the Western honeybee) occur across Asia, Europe and Africa, but only two are found in South Africa, the African honey bee Apis mellifera scutellata and the Cape honey bee Apis mellifera capensis. The oldest known honeybee specimen dates from 100 million years ago. South Africa also has a unique problem in that the Cape honeybee (Apis mellifera capensis) can become a social parasite if introduced in the other subspecies’ (Apis mellifera scutellata) range. To remedy this, a dividing line has been drawn to separate the area in which Apis mellifera scutellata and Apis mellifera capensis can be used for beekeeping activities and no bees may be transported across the demarcation line.

African Honey Bee Apis mellifera scutellata

Honey bee pests and diseases
Much has been written about honeybee colonies around the world experiencing problems with the varroa mite pest (Varroa destructor) and diseases like, Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) and American foulbrood (Paenibacillus larvae subsp. larvae) as a result of human interferences in regards to selective breeding, introducing foreign species into local populations and many other factors. In most cases the decline in honey bee populations can be counteracted by environmentally sound farming practices that protect natural vegetation alongside agricultural lands to allow populations of wild bees to thrive which will do the pollinating of crops that had been left entirely to unnatural practices such as transporting honey bee colonies into the orchards and fields during the flowering period to do the pollinating in the absence of large enough populations of wild bees.

African Honey Bees are not being affected to any where near that same degree as the European Honey Bee which is kept in most other parts of the world because they are more robust and resilient to pests and disease than the European Honey Bee. This natural immunity has left the African Honey Bees mostly unaffected by the global Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) reported extensively in Europe and America as well as American Foulbrood Disease (AFB) is caused by a bacterium known as Paenibascillus larvae, so named due to the fact that it infects honeybee larvae

Attracting bees into your garden
Many of the more specialist wild bees are only attracted to our local plants therefore the bigger the variety of local grasses, ground cover plants, shrubs and trees that one has in the garden the larger the number of bee species that one will attract into your garden. The more natural the plants are arranged in the garden the more your garden will attract bees. Occasionally allow portions of your lawn to flower this will attract the most amazing number of bees including honey bees which will come to collect the pollen. 

My garden with its very large number of plants species in particular a large number of grass species attracts the most amazing variety and number of bees species. 

A plant that attracts an extraordinarily large numbers of bee species is Lilly Grass or Weeping Anthericum. This plant attracts more bee species from large carpenter bees to the very smallest bees than any other plant that I know. It is always interesting to watch these plants when they are being visited by the large bee species in particular the Carpenter bee Xylocopa caffra, because as the bee lands on the flower its weight causes the flower to drop down and as soon as it leaves to attend to the next flower it pops up again setting the whole plant in motion.

Click on the photo below to go to my blog article

The Star flower Hypoxis hemerocallidea is a charming little grass land forb that also does its fair share to bring plenty of bee species into the garden.

Click on the photo below to go to my blog article

Delospermun linearum, these little plants that I grew from a small cutting collected at Cato Ridge which I growing en mass in trays on my carport roof as well as growing in my grassland gardens is like a magnet to a very big variety of bees

Delospermun linearum

Nesting opportunities
Many bee species can be easily attracted to breed in holes of between 3 to 10 mm drilled into pieces of hard wood which are hung up in a warm dry location.

If anyone is interested in more information on attracting bees into the garden or making breeding stations for bees please contact me.

Michael Hickman
Landscape Design and Rehabilitation Specialist


Please do not leave this page without clicking on the G+ button below if you do not have a Google profile it is about time that you registered for one 

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Erythrina lysistemon The coast coral tree

Family :      Fabaceae  the legume family
Subfamily:  Papilionoideae
English :     Coast coral tree
Zulu:           uMsinsi
German:      Korralenbaum

Erythrina lysistemon occurs over a wide area in a wide range of altitudes and habitats from about the Mbashe River Mouth in Eastern Cape northwards to KwaZulu-Natal, Swaziland, Gauteng, Mpumalanga North West Province and Limpopo.  It grows in scrub forest, wooded kloofs, dry woodlands, dry savannah, and coastal dune bush and also in high rainfall areas.
In our area Erythrina lysistemon is found growing in abundance very often as a pioneer tree on sandy soils.

Erythrina lysistemon is a small to medium-sized, deciduous tree with light to medium green leaves and brilliant orange to dark red flowers, there is also a pink variety which was discovered in Zululand and brought into cultivation by Dr Ian Whitton in the late 1960´s. Erythrina lysistemon presents a very striking sight when it brings forth its brilliant orange to dark red flowers on branches free of leaves in the dry winter months.

Erythrina lysistemon is a very rewarding tree that grows very rapidly in particular on poor nutrient deficient soils providing large amounts of bright red flowers and nectar for a large range of birds in the winter months. The flowers produce abundant nectar that attracts many nectar-feeding birds and insects, which in turn attract the insect-feeding birds.
The fruit is a slender green pod which turns black at maturity. The pod splits while still attached to the tree exposing bright red 'lucky bean' seeds.

Erythrina lysistemon provide ideal light shade for a whole range of ground cover plants that need a little shading and as a bonus they are provided with nitrogen due to the nitrogen fixing bacterial in the roots of the tree. If the tree is trained by removing the lower branches are removed.

In recent years Erythrina lysistemon has become very popular as a feature tree in landscaping because of its good clean sculptured growth form, spectacular display when in flower and in particular large mature trees can transplanted with ease at any time of year.
Erythrina lysistemon being a small tree suits even the smallest of urban gardens, in my own garden I have eight specimens and intend to plant a few more this season.

Barbets and woodpeckers hollow out  nest chambers in the trunks of dead trees which later become the homes to many other small hole nesting birds, such as starlings, grey headed sparrows, black tits and others.
Erythrina lysistemon is widely used and enjoyed by mankind. They have been regarded as royal trees, and were planted on the graves of Zulu chiefs. They were planted as living fences around kraals, homesteads and waterholes, and were one of the first wild trees to be planted in gardens in South Africa. The end of the flowering season traditionally has signaled the time to plough and to plant seeds for the next season’s crops.
South African Erythrinas are well known and grown in many other countries with suitable climates in particular in the USA

Erythrina lysistemon is flower on the Ecoman logo.

Erythrina caffra is another very similar but much larger specie is that grows in our area.

English :  Common coral tree
Zulu:        uMsinsi

Erythrina caffra occurs naturally in coastal forests and along wooded rivers northwards along the east coast from the Humansdorp district to just north of Port Shepstone  and again  from lake St. lucia to Lake Sibayi in  Zululand
The branches are armed with prickles, which might serve as protection to herbivores especially when trees are still young. Fully grown trees are fairly drought resistant and can withstand several degrees of frost.
Erythrina caffra should be planted in sunny places in well-drained soil. It can tolerate quite moist soils as it often grows on the banks of rivers and streams. The trees will also put up with dry conditions and poor soils; however, they do not respond well to excessively cold conditions.

Propagation of Erythrina
Both Erythrina lysistemon and Erythrina caffra are best grown from fresh seed because seedlings grow very rapidly and under ideal conditions if fresh seed is planted can produce their first flowers in their first growing season.  Soak the seed in warn water until they swell before planting for rapid results, scarifying the seed will speed up the process.

They can also be grown from large truncheon cuttings but if grown from old wood from a matured tree tend to develop much slower and do not develop to their fully potential. Truncheon cuttings are branches measuring at least 50 mm in diameter with most of the smaller twigs with leaves removed.  The truncheon is planted just deep enough so that it does not fall over, staking would be helpful. Do not plant deeper that 500 mm into the soil.

Michael Hickman
Landscape Design and Rehabilitation Specialist


Please do not leave this page without clicking on the G+ button below if you do not have a Google profile it is about time that you registered for one 

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Soap Aloe

Aloe maculata

Family : Asphodelaceae

English : soap aloe

Aloe maculata gets its common English name soap aloe from its previous name aloe saponaria  which is derived  from the Latin word  “sapo”, which means soap because the sap from the leaves makes a soapy lather in water.
Maculata means speckled or marked

Distribution and habitat
Aloe maculata is a leaf succulent found growing in full sun in grassland and on steep exposed road cuttings in and around Durban often very close to the sea. This species has a wide distribution from the Cape Peninsula through the Western and Eastern Cape Province, into the eastern Free State and Lesotho, through KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga to the Inyanga District in Zimbabwe. Plants usually prefer the milder coastal climates but are also found as a component of the higher altitude Drakensberg flora. They occur in a variety of habitats, ranging from rocky outcrops to thicket and grasslands.

Aloe maculata is a very variable species that hybridizes easily with other similar Aloes, sometimes making it difficult to identify. The broad, triangular leaves vary considerably in length and shape, but are mostly recurved towards the dried, twisted tips. The leaves range in colour from red to green, but always have distinctive "H-shaped" spots. The flowers are similarly variable in colour, ranging from bright red to yellow, but are always bunched in a distinctively flat-topped raceme. The inflorescence is borne on the top of a tall, multi-branched stalk and the seeds are reputedly poisonous. They grow as low to medium growing individual plants in small colonies.
Aloe maculata reproduce by means of root suckers which are produced in profusion in healthy actively growing plants that are well nourished and are supplied with plenty of water during the growing season.  The suckers can be separated from the mother plant and planted on their own as soon as they have reached a reasonable size. Aloe maculata can also be propagated very easily from seed which are preferably planted in raised beds open to the ground.

Decorative value
This is a must have plant for every garden.
Aloe maculata plants are most decorative having medium glossy green leaves and a very neat growth habit, they produce spectacular orange flowers in profusion in mid-winter, in my garden in Mount Moreland they usually start flowering in late June the first flowers usually opening in the first weeks of July.
Aloe maculata is planted around the world as a popular landscape plant.  In warm desert regions - especially in the United States, it is the most popular ornamental aloe in the Tucson, Arizona area, and is also popular in California.
I was amazed to discover that Aloe maculata also grows very well in the cold wet conditions encountered in Auckland New Zealand

Growing Aloe maculata
This is a very easy plant to grow being able to grow under a large range of different climatic regions as well as being able to be grown in soils that range from sand to heavy clay.
Plants are damaged by temperatures below 0°C, but recover quickly. In a suitable climate, soap aloes require little attention once established.
In their natural habitat Aloe maculata are able to withstand long periods of drought due to being leaf succulents as well as having a good strong root system with a good water storage capacity.
Although Aloe maculata will survive under very harsh conditions in very low nutrient soils they do far better when supplied with a growing medium that is well enriched with well-rotted organic matter and are well watered during the growing season. A regular application of fertilizer will also work wonders.
Aloe maculata is very salt tolerant which makes them a good choice for seaside gardens.
Suitability as a green roof plant
Aloe maculata is one of a number of local plant species which are presently being tested by me for their suitability to be grown as Green Roof plants in the Durban region. Over a five year period I have found them to be excellent green roof subjects, in fact my research has found them to be one of the best plants that have been tested to date.

Pests and diseases
They are rather prone to attack by a wide range of insects which included scale and mealy bug that attack the roots, these mealy bugs appear to be introduced to the plants by ants which tend and protect them from their natural enemies. They are also attacked by leaf miner insects, snout beetles moles and mites.

Aloe Snout Weevils
Aloe Snout Weevils belonging to the family Curculionidae, the Lesser Aloe Weevil Rhadinomerus illicitus being a particularly destructive specie
The Aloe Snout Weevil is grey, dark brown to black in colour. They are between 15mm-25mm in length. The adult Aloe Snout Weevil feeds on the sap it obtains by puncturing the aloe leaves causing circular lesions 3mm in diameter which leave unsightly marks on the aloe leaves.  The Aloe Snout Weevil lays its eggs at the base of the aloe leaves, the larvae bore into the stem just below the crown of the plant which often causes the entire plant to die.
For comprehensive information on Snout weevil Damage Done to Aloes go to Kumbula Nursery Blog at

White Scale insects
The white scale insects become visible as neat white rows on the leaves, especially on the lower surfaces. If untreated, the entire plant will eventually be covered by the insects and may die.
The roots and stems are also eaten by mole rats which can completely destroy a whole colony in a very short period of time

Aloe cancer or gall mite
Very often the first sign of gall mite noticed when a flower spike starts to emerge from the plant all crooked and bent with signs of a cancerous looking growth on it which develops into unsightly galls on the flower spike as it matures. Aloe cancer may also start as an irregular growth on the base of some of the older leaves, often where an earlier inflorescence has dried.
Gall mites are minute insects that travel through the air.
When encountered cut off and destroy by burning or disposing of with the house refuse.
Then treat the cut as well as the whole plant can be sprayed with a systemic insecticide at the manufacturer's recommended application rate. Keep an eye open for signs of infection on nearby plants.

Biodiversity value
This aloe can make a valuable contribution to increasing bio-diversity in any landscape in particular in Mount Moreland.
Aloe maculate flowers which can be bright red, orange or yellow are a rich source of nectar which attract pollinating insects in particular honey bees. Without a doubt the main pollinating agent of the Aloe maculata is sunbirds as it is carefully designed to accommodate them. At Mount Moreland they are the aloes in my own garden that attract more sunbirds by far than any of the other aloes, attracting in particular White Bellied and Black Sun birds which feed on their nectar with a lesser number of olive sunbirds. This winter I have seen the very beautiful scarlet-chested sunbird (Chalcomitra senegalensis) on my plants. Unfortunately to date I have not been able to get a photo of it. The widespread planting of this aloe in Mount Moreland would have a dramatic effect on the population of sunbirds that can be supported during the winter months including hopefully the scarlet chested 

This photograph of a scarlet-chested sunbird was very kindly loaned to me by the photographer Hugh Chittenden see his bird photos at

Uses and cultural aspects
The sap from the leaves is used as a substitute for soap.
The Soap Aloe is highly adaptable and is naturally found in a wide range of habitats across Southern Africa, from Zimbabwe in the north, to the Cape Peninsula in the south. Specifically, it is native to southern and eastern South Africa, south-eastern Botswana and Zimbabwe.

Naturalised Distribution
This species is widely naturalised in south-eastern and eastern Australia (i.e. in south-eastern Queensland, in some parts of central and northern New South Wales, in southern and western Victoria and in Tasmania. Also naturalised on Lord Howe Island, Norflok Island and sparingly naturalised in south-eastern South Australia.

Michael Hickman
Landscape Design and Rehabilitation Specialist


Please do not leave this page without clicking on the G+ button below if you do not have a Google profile it is about time that you registered for one 

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Aloe pluridens French Aloe

Family    Xanthorrhoeaceae
Subfamily    Asphodeloideae

The specie name pluridens is derived from two words pluri = many and dens = teeth which refers to the many teeth on the leaf margins.

A group of Aloe pluridens growing against the boaundary fence at my natural aloe and grassland garden at Mount Moreland

Distribution and habitat of Aloe pluridens
It occurs naturally from the Eastern Cape to just north of Durban in KwaZulu  Natal where it is normally found growing on cliffs and in the shade of coastal bush. It is particularly common in the Port Elizabeth, Uitenhage and the Albany areas where the rosettes may be seen above the surrounding bush.

Aloe pluridens is a very attractive aloe which is usually single-stemmed or may be branched it bears numerous small plantlets on the lower stems. Aloe pluridens is a tall aloe, occasionally reaching up to 5-6 m high. The leaves are bright yellowish to bright green. The leaf margin is armed with numerous teeth. The leaf sap is clear with a strong, rhubarb-like smell.

The inflorescence is attractive, branched with up to 4 racemes protruding above the leaves. The flowers are usually orange or pinkish-red, but a yellow form is also known. Up to three inflorescences may be borne from each rosette. The flowers that are produced from May to July attract sunbirds and bees which in my garden at Mount Moreland often attract Fork tailed Drongos which feed on the bees. This winter the beautiful Scarlet Chested Sunbird which normally occurs much further north has been attracted to the numerous aloes, Kniphofias and Erythrinas trees  that I have flowering in my garden.

Growing Aloe pluridens
Aloe pluridens is extremely easy to grow preferring partial shade for the hottest time of day.  Aloe pluridens will grow in poor soils with little attention but will do much better if it is planted in a large hole that has first been enriched with well-rotted compost and fertilised at least once a year at the beginning of the growing season with a balanced granular fertiliser. 

Although Aloe pluridens is drought tolerant, it thrives and flowers better if adequate irrigation is provided in the summer months.

Propagating Aloe pluridens
Aloe pluridens is extremely easy to propagate which is best done by simply removing the numerous plantlets on the stem and planting them.

The numerous suckers growing on the main stem of Aloe pluridens can clearly be seen

The removal of the side plantlets that are produced in large numbers stimulates the plant to produce more giving a continuous supply of propagating material which makes is possible to quickly produce ever larger numbers of this spectacular aloe. Aloe pluridens can also be grown from seed which they do not produce in large numbers. When vegetatively propagated always propagate from a number of mother plants so that your entire collection does not consist of the clones of one single plant to allow for cross pollination and the production of seed which will hopefully spread to and grow in your neighbours garden.

Landscape value
Aloe pluridens has a high landscape value both as a feature plant where it can be planted as a single plant or as an extensive mass plantings to create a focal point or to define a boundary. Massed plantings provided a brilliant splash of colour during the dry winter months. This aloe is a must for every coastal garden irrespective of whether it is planted entirely to local  indigenous plants or exotic foreign plants

Ecological value
Aloe pluridens is a good source of nectar for birds and bees during the dry winter months

Pests and diseases
Aloe Snout Weevils

Aloe Snout Weevils belonging to the family Curculionidae, the Lesser Aloe Weevil Rhadinomerus illicitus being a particularily destructive specie
The Aloe Snout Weevil is grey, dark brown to black in colour. They are between 15mm-25mm in length. The adult Aloe Snout Weevil feeds on the sap it obtains by puncturing the aloe leaves causing circular lesions 3mm in diameter which leave unsightly marks on the aloe leaves.  The Aloe Snout Weevil lays its eggs at the base of the aloe leaves, the larvae bore into the stem just below the crown of the plant which often causes the entire plant to die.

For comprehensive information on Snout weevil Damage Done to Aloes go to Kumbula Nursery Blog at

White Scale insects

The white scale insects become visible as neat white rows on the leaves, especially on the lower surfaces. If untreated, the entire plant will eventually be covered by the insects and may die.

Medicinal uses of Aloe Pluridens
The sulphur-containing compound Pluridone found in the roots of Aloe pluridens has been proven in trials to effectively control coccidia in poultry.

Michael Hickman
Landscape Design and Rehabilitation Specialist


Please do not leave this page without clicking on the G+ button below if you do not have a Google profile it is about time that you registered for one