We are missing out on one of the highlights of the year, the widespread blooming of aloes that brighten the otherwise drab landscape of late autumn and during the winter months. I had a legitimate reason to drive out of town last week for the first time since the Covid-19 lockdown began and noted many aloes blooming along the road towards Port Alfred, their flame-coloured blossoms lifting my spirits enormously. Fortunately, as their flowering season is fairly long I am hoping that the restrictions on our movements will be relaxed further before it ends. In the meanwhile, I am confined to observing the aloes in our garden.

Some have progressed from showing tightly closed cone-like buds like this:

To fully opened blossoms like this one:

The aloes attract birds, such as the Greater Double-collared Sunbird above as well as a variety of insects:

I am interested to see the damage done by ants at the base of some of the tubular flowers:

There haven’t been many bees around yet – perhaps they need the flowers to open a little more. I will be keeping an eye out for them.

22 thoughts on “ALOE SEASON

  1. ‘Greater Double-collared Sunbird’ : sometimes I think the people just make up these names for birds. Is there really a lesser double collared sunbird? Or even a medium single collared sunbird?


    • Over twenty varieties of sunbirds live in this part of the world – not one is medium- or single-collared. However, what used to be called the Lesser Double-collared sunbird is now known as the Southern Double-collared sunbird – ornithologists like to keep mere bird loving mortals on the hop.


  2. We have a single Aloe, species suprafoliata (Boekaalwyn in Afrikaans) in our little garden and sadly it’s down to its last remaining blossom.But while in its prime the regular visits by the White-bellied Sunbirds was beautiful to watch.


    • It is good to hear from you again! I have just checked out your Boekaalwyn – what an interesting configuration of leaves it has. I don’t think I have seen one of these before. I am fortunate to have a number of aloes in our garden – the problem is that it is not as sunny as it used to be because the trees have matured since we first planted the aloes.

      Liked by 1 person

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