Plant Family: Xanthorrhoeaceae
Description: Aloe vera is a very short-stemmed succulent plant growing to 24–39 inch tall, spreading by offsets. The leaves are thick and fleshy, green to grey-green, with some varieties showing white spots on their stem surfaces. The margin of the leaf is serrated and has small white teeth. The flowers are produced in summer on a spike up to 35 inch tall, each flower being pendulous, with a yellow tubular corolla 0.8–1.2 inch long.
Natural Habitat: The natural range of A. vera is unclear, as the species has been widely cultivated throughout the world.
Origin and Distribution: Naturalised strands of the species occur in the southern half of the Arabian Peninsula, through North Africa (Morocco, Mauritania, Egypt), as well as Sudan and neighbouring countries, along with the Canary, Cape Verde, and Madeira Islands. The species was introduced to China and various parts of southern Europe in the 17th century. The species is widely naturalised elsewhere, occurring in temperate and tropical regions of Australia, Caribbean, Belize, Nigeria, Paraguay, Mexico and the US states of Florida, Arizona and Texas. The actual species' distribution has been suggested to be the result of human cultivation.
Cultural uses: Aloe vera is known for its soothing effect on the body. It is applied as a poultice for sores and bruises and to swollen joints such as ankles, knees and elbows to relieve pains. Local practitioners of traditional medicine have vowed to the worth of this herb having seen blood clots that resulted from falls go away with a drink of gel like water that is set in water. This versatile plan is used to help heal rashes and heat burns. This plan is a part of the cactus family and flourishes in relatively dry areas of the country