Wild Aloe vera at Ta Cenc

This topic covers general and specific questions and requests about the wild flora of malta.

Moderators: MWP admin, IL-PINE

Post Reply
cactus
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 9:50 am

Wild Aloe vera at Ta Cenc

Post by cactus » Tue Feb 27, 2007 5:06 pm

I have visited the Sabbara valley at Ta Cenc Gozo and cannot fail to notice that Aloe vera is growing wild there.

Since the common name for this plant in Maltese is also Sabbara, the valley must have taken its name from this plant and thus means that it has been growing there for quite a long time.

My questions are: Is the Aloe vera at Ta Cenc the same variety as those in the African continent?

Has anyone done any DNA testing on the plant or at least any biological studies?

Could these plants be a remnant of a larger distribution of this plant from Africa?

Has anyone noticed whether it could be producing seeds or just spreading by vegetative means?

I would appreciate any comments.
Attachments
Wild Aloe vera.jpg
(91.67 KiB) Downloaded 1392 times

User avatar
IL-PINE
Premium Member
Posts: 1112
Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2005 2:55 pm
Location: Qormi
Contact:

Post by IL-PINE » Tue Feb 27, 2007 11:59 pm

The Red Data Book (1988) questioned this. Since this species is widely cultivated, it is not known if it is native or naturalised.
Profs Weber indicates this species as naturalised.

cactus
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 9:50 am

Post by cactus » Wed Feb 28, 2007 2:15 pm

But how did it get to be naturalised there?
I mean, either someone had to plant it, which is highly unlikely, since it could have been easily kept in pots, or seeds had fallen in the valley, which is also not likely, as plants in cultivation must all be clones of one species.

RB
Premium Member
Posts: 838
Joined: Tue Sep 12, 2006 6:07 pm

Post by RB » Wed Feb 28, 2007 2:35 pm

Your first question is very interesting, it would be nice to consider that this is wild.

However just because it grows there, you can not automatically assume that it is wild, as your last post seems to indicate your train of thought.

I ask you only to consider the Agave sp at Bahar ic-Caghaq for example.

I do think that it will however be very difficult to decide on this one, maybe historical records of the name of the valley, or other references to this plant in old Maltese books/documents would be able to at least indicate the earliest recorded date of this plant's existence in Malta/Gozo.

Even then, you only have an early date, not proof of this plant's "wildness" because humanity has been trading and distributing useful items including plants for millennia, so it is entirely conceivable that this plant was introduced, say, 1000 years ago and cultivated around this valley, only to escape.

RB

User avatar
MWP admin
Site Admin
Posts: 3142
Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2005 11:23 am
Location: Malta
Contact:

Post by MWP admin » Mon Dec 17, 2007 8:54 pm

I was researching on Aloe vera and this species is considered as an naturalised plant from very old times. Note that Aloe vera belongs to the Asphodelaceae family and Agave spp. is from the family Agavaceae.

I have seen the plants described by Cactus and they look as innocent native wild plants, far away from arable land, or footpaths. So I think this population is not directly planted by man but only accidentaly. I think that there was a direct cultivation in some arable land near the valley (now destroyed), and seeds or offsets where carried there by another vector, namely birds or more feasible by water streams down the valley.
Attachments
AloeVera.jpg
Aloe Vera, Limits of ta' Ta' Cenc
AloeVera.jpg (105.76 KiB) Viewed 26123 times
Stephen Mifsud
Administrator

{Comments} {Donation} {Recommendations}

Post Reply