Growth of Aloe ferox Mill. at selected sites in the Makana region of the Eastern Cape

Shackleton, C.M. and Gambiza, J. (2007) Growth of Aloe ferox Mill. at selected sites in the Makana region of the Eastern Cape. South African Journal of Botany, 73 (2). pp. 266-269. ISSN 0254-6299



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There is widespread harvesting of the leaves of Aloe ferox to supply bitters and gel for cosmetic and health products. Government and private agencies are interested in expanding the industry as a means of providing income for poor rural communities. With the growing interest in the commercial use of A. ferox it is important that harvesting programmes are based on an adequate understanding of the ecology and productivity of the species, which will underpin estimates of possible sustainable yields. In this paper we report mean annual growth rates of 283 A. ferox plants (at six sites) during the 2005/2006 season. Growth was variable across sites and plant height. In terms of sites, the mean height growth ranged between 1.7 cm per plant per year at site 4 and 4.6 cm at site 2. The mean height increment across all sites and plants was 2.8 ± 0.2 cm. Plant height had a strong effect on annual increment with small plants (< 6 cm) more than doubling their height in the 12 month period, whereas plants taller than 2 m grew by approximately 1% over the year. Across the five unburnt sites, the mean standing stock of leaves grew by two per plant. The proportion of plants flowering increased progressively with plant height. Most (90%) of the plants that flowered in 2005 did so again in 2006.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Aloe ferox; Burning; Flowering; Growth; Plant height
Subjects:Y Unknown > Subjects to be assigned
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Science > Environmental Science
ID Code:677
Deposited By: Ms Vivien Botha
Deposited On:29 May 2007
Last Modified:06 Jan 2012 16:18
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