Why, aloe there  

Why, aloe there

Aloe isn"t just that itch-relief ooze you buy at the supermarket. Aloes are some of the most splendid succulent plants in nature, coming in many shapes and colors. While the rubbery, gel-filled leaves of most aloe plants are long and spear-shaped, those of the pictured Aloe polyphylla species are stout and tightly set—one of many examples in nature of a near-perfect spiral. Commonly called spiral aloe, it"s a coveted garden plant with specific growing conditions that make it hard to keep alive. Even in nature it"s rare and native only to the chilly mountains of Lesotho, a tiny kingdom entirely surrounded by South Africa.

© David Madison/Getty Images

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