spiral aloe
Photo: Spiral Aloe on Wikimedia Commons

The spiral aloe, Aloe polyphylla, is a rare species that is native to the Drakensberg mountains in the Kingdom of Lesotho.

It is extremely desirable to gardeners because of its strikingly symmetrical, five-pointed spiral growth habit. The plant is a stemless aloe and grows its leaves in a very distinctive Fibonacci spiral shape, which may be clockwise or counter-clockwise. Unlike other aloes, A. polyphylla plants do not sucker or produce offshoots and must be propagated from seed. Spiral aloe blooms at the beginning of summer, producing flowers that range in color from red to salmon-pink and occasionally yellow.. Since it was first discovered in the 1970s, the plant has become threatened due to grazing herds and the near-extinction of its natural pollinator, the equally exquisite malachite sunbird.