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A friend of mine received this plant 4-5 years ago from someone who didn't know the name of the species. This friend wants to collect gel from Aloe vera, but so far only a few teaspoons were provided by the plant (about one teaspoon from every two leaves). She has searched online for details about species of Aloe and "the best one for treatment" (whatever that means) is an Aloe vera that produces yellow flowers.

However, her plant hasn't bloomed until now, so she doesn't know for sure if she should wait for this one or buy a new plant that is labeled Aloe vera. As a side note, I have seen many plants with wrong labels, so buying a new one is not a sure hit in my opinion, hence the question in the title.

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That is definitely not Aloe barbadensis which is what is commonly known as Aloe vera. It is much more meaty than the pictured plant and makes lots of juice.

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That looks like aloe but there are different varieties. This one is taller and has narrower leafs than ones I've collected gel from before.

Update: a cacti expert friend of mine suggested this is an etiolated Aloe cameroni, and that it would do better with gradual introduction to more sunlight. Looking at that plant and this one, I'm uncertain due to the central stem in the photo you posted, but I generally trust this expert's cactus IDs.

How did you try to collect gel that resulted in only a few drops?

When you prune a leaf and slice down its side, then peel back its skin, is there a clearish gel in there? That's how I collect the gel: taking an entire limb off the plant, opening it up, then cutting out chunks of the gel in sections to use as food or medicine now or later.

Related, a post noting that not all varieties are necessarily edible: Is the gel of all Aloe Vera plants suitable for consumption? It cites a NIH science article which, in its "Botany of aloe vera" section, notes "Most aloe vera plants are non toxic but a few are extremely poisonous containing a hemlock like substance (Atherton 1998)." I'm not able to check if aloe cameroni is toxic or not, but it is indeed not one of the commonly eaten aloe houseplants. Better safe than sorry!

  • My bad, it was a few teaspoons, not drops. I will make a correction to the question, so thanks for bringing it up. – Alina Jan 19 '18 at 16:40
  • Collection by removing the hard layer and scooping the filling. – Alina Jan 19 '18 at 16:45
  • A few teaspoons (my guess looking at those limbs - 2 tablespoons?) of gel seems reasonable. I guess the key question is "is this species of aloe edible?" If I can get a more reliable ID on this I'll update. – cr0 Jan 19 '18 at 16:52
  • Confirmed as teaspoons and she'll be ok with any quantity if it's Aloe vera. Anyway, your answer is useful because it backs my opinion that a plant should not be used when it's not clear what it is. – Alina Jan 19 '18 at 17:14
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    @Alina I updated the post with a potential ID – cr0 Jan 19 '18 at 18:24
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I think it is not aloe cameronii. This is Aloe arborescens (Torch Aloe). Look at the World of Succulents, this is the best page about succulents I know. https://worldofsucculents.com/aloe-arborescens-torch-aloe-candelabra-aloe-octopus-plant/#prettyPhoto and https://worldofsucculents.com/grow-care-torch-aloe/. He is also healing, though less efficient than aloe vera.

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