herb of the week
This mildly spiky succulent grows as a rosette. Clumps grow to about 60cm tall. The leaves are grey-green and striated with pale markings. They are thick and fleshy and ooze a clear, gel-like substance when cut. It bears yellow tubular flowers in summer and belongs to the lily family. It probably originated in north Africa. Aloe vera is easily propagated from offsets from an established plant. The plant requires a well-drained position, protected from hot lateafternoon sun and needs more water than many succulents, but it cannot cope with being water-logged. Aloe vera gel has always been highly prized as a treatment for minor burns. It can also be used to soothe sunburn and other skin afflictions.