Tucson is usually sunny, but we’ve had a few cold wet days this week. It actually looks like winter for a change! We need the rain, so I’m not complaining.
This is an aloe vera plant (aloe barbadensis) I have in a pot on my porch. It’s a visually interesting succulent, but the main reason I have it is because it is loaded with vitamin E.
A cut or burn heals much faster and with less scarring if a little of the transparent gel from inside the plant is smeared on the wound several times a day for a few days. The aloe has been used for medicinal purposes since at least Biblical times.
In cooler environments it is critical to guard this plant from frost and grow it in full sun, but in the desert southwest where we get a lot of sunshine and hot days, it’s important to grow the plant in shade so that when the plant is cut the goo is clear and odorless. If the plant is grown in the sun it still has the medicinal qualities, but the gel smells and stains the skin yellow. I think it is the result of the extreme heat, rather than the sunshine, since nurseries instructions say to plant it in full sun.