Aloe perfoliata var. vera L.
Succulent perennial herbs. Stem short, producing suckers at the base. Leaves sessile, erect, linear-lanceolate 15-35 x 4-8 cm, glabrous, glaucous, margin sparsely dentate, tip 2-3-dentate. Inflorescence 60-100 cm, erect pedunculate raceme, simple or with 1-2 branches; raceme 30-40 x 5-6 cm. Bracts ovate-lanceolate, 9-12 x 5-6 mm, persistent. Flowers reflexed, pedicel about half as long as bract. Perianth 2.5-3 cm long, dull reddish, lobes 6, almost equalling the tube. Ovary trilocular, placentation axile, many ovules in each locule; style elongated, stigma obscurely 3-lobed. Capsule 1.5 cm.
Lectotype: van Rheede’s Hortus malabaricus 11: 7. t. 3. 1692. (Wijnands, The Botany of the Commelins: 127. 1983).
Distribution: Cultivated in the Mediterranean region for a very long time; place of origin uncertain; widely naturalized in Portugal, Turkey, China (S. Yunnan), Pakistan, India and Nepal, West Indies and Central America.
At least in flower colour the plants in Pakistan and India with reddish flowers are different from the populations of A. vera growing in Europe, Turkey and China which are reputed to have yellow to pale yellow flowers. It may be worthwhile to investigate the matter further.
It is used as a stomachic, purgative and emmenagogue and in the treatment of piles and rectal fissures. The mucilage is cooling and is used to poultice inflammations (Wealth of India 1: 61.1948).