Two red hot pokers

About plants and their names, on the occasion of another visit to the cactus and succulent garden at Stanford — to view the incredible profusion of plants now that it’s been raining fairly regularly. Especially remarkable carpets of ground-cover succulents, and lots of jade plants in bloom. And two similar-looking flowering plants — red hot pokers — that on closer inspection turn out to be quite distinct: the Kniphofia that I posted about a while back, and a different plant that was clearly a species of Aloe.

Jade plants (Crassula ovata), treated in a 9/5/15 posting on this blog, are easily grown house plants with nice white flowers, but in the Stanford garden they were flourishing as very pretty dense bushes. Meanwhile, there were stands of pork and beans, in their red-colored phase, all over the place.


From Wikipedia:

Sedum rubrotinctum or Sedum × rubrotinctum, and commonly known as jelly-beans, jelly bean plant, or pork and beans. It is a species of Sedum [or stonecrops] from the Crassulaceae family of plants.

Nicknamed for its short leaves that resemble jelly beans, especially when taking on a protective hue. The plant was named officially as a distinct species in 1948. It is a succulent plant originating in Mexico.

Sedums are generally easy plants to grow and are entertaining to look at.

On to the red hot pokers. From my earlier posting on Kniphofia (with their eye-catching spears of red / orange / yellow):

Kniphofia …, also called tritoma, red hot poker, torch lily, knofflers or poker plant, is a genus of flowering plants in the family Xanthorrhoeaceae

Annoying naming fact, from another Wikipedia article:

Asphodelaceae is a family of flowering plants in the order Asparagales. Until 2016, the name Xanthorrhoeaceae was used for the family in the APG classification system

So Kniphofia is now in the asphodel family.

Kniphofia has strap-like leaves, much like plants in the lily family (where it was once, sigh, located taxonomically):


The other red hot pokers have red flower spears and obviously aloe-like leaves:


From Wikipedia:

Aloe arborescens (krantz aloe, candelabra aloe [or torch aloe or red hot poker]) is a species of flowering succulent perennial plant that belongs to the Aloe genus, which it shares with the well known and studied Aloe vera. This species is also relatively popular among gardeners and has recently been studied for possible medical uses.

Aloe arborescens is a large multi-headed sprawling succulent, its specific name indicating that it sometimes reaches tree size. Typical height for this species 2–3 metres (6.6–9.8 ft) high. Its leaves are succulent and are green with a slight blue tint. Its leaves are armed with small spikes along its edges and are arranged in rosettes situated at the end of branches. Flowers are arranged in a type of inflorescence called a raceme. The racemes are not branched but two to several can sprout from each rosette. Flowers are cylindrical in shape and are a vibrant red/orange color.

(Aloes are in fact in the same plant family (now known as the asphodel family) as Kniphofia.)

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