Aloe duckeri is an evergreen, succulent, perennial plant forming a dense rosette of leaves up to 1 metre in diameter. The plant often suckers to form a small group of plants; it can be stemless or, especially in older plants, can form short, thick stems up to 30cm tall[
The plant is sometimes harvested from the wild for local medicinal use.
The sap of Aloe species contains anthraquinones. These compounds have several beneficial medicinal actions, particularly as a laxative, and many species of Aloe are thus employed in traditional medicine. Whilst safe in small doses and for short periods of time, anthraquinones do have potential problems if used in excess. These include congestion and irritation of the pelvic organs[
]. Long term use of anthraquinone laxatives may also play a role in development of colorectal cancer as they have genotoxic potential, and tumorigenic potential[
Tropical Africa - southwest Tanzania, southeast DR Congo, Zambia, Malawi.
Montane grassland, and in grass in high rainfall Brachystegia woodland, at elevations from 1,000 - 2,350 metres[
Aloe species follow the Crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM). CAM plants can fix carbon dioxide at night and photosynthesize with closed stomata during the day, thus minimizing water loss. This, plus their succulent leaves and stems, and the presence of a thick cuticle, makes them well adapted to dry conditions[
The leaf sap is used to help childbirth[
The distinctive constituents in Aloe leaves are phenolic compounds, including chromone, anthraquinone or anthrone derivatives. Some of the compounds are found in many species, whereas others occur in only a few[
Seed - we have no specific information on this species - in general Aloes are sown in a sandy, well-drained potting soil in a warm, shady position in standard seed trays. Germination takes about three weeks. Cover the seed with a thin layer of sand (1 - 2mm), keep moist. The seedlings can be planted out in individual bags or containers as soon as they are large enough to handle[
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