Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Aloe Dichotoma

(Aloe Dichotoma)

These remarkable trees are found in the dry and arid areas of Namibia and the Northern Cape of South Africa as they prefer rocky or hard terrain for their shallow root systems.  They store water in their stems, leaves or roots to enable them to survive for months without rain.  You can see from the various photos in this blog which of the trees has received the most water.  Those that receive little or none are very ‘lean’, whilst the others are positively bloated!

The stems of quiver trees are decorated with golden brown flaky scales and beautiful vertical patterns which make them very photogenic.

Quiver trees can grow up to nine meters tall.  They bear spiky yellow flowers during the winter months of June/July, but not before they are at least twenty years old.  The trees produce a fine white powder that acts as a sunscreen by reflecting the harsh desert sunlight.

Seen standing alone in a vast barren landscape, they have an almost eerie appearance, but to me they represent the desert that I love so much.   They are usually seen individually, dotted here and there on open plains or hillsides, but there are a couple of quiver tree forests that are well worth visiting.  The famous quiver tree forest in Namibia is near Keetmanshoop down in the south of the country, and there is another beautiful one on the short-cut between the Onseepkans border post and Kakamas in the Northern Cape.

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