The following key and illustrations (Figures 2.1—2.7) should facilitate identification of the seven genera here included in the Aloaceae. From a phytogeographical perspective it should be noted that, although some of the genera included in the family are found elsewhere—mainly Aloe which ranges from the southern tip of Africa to the Arabian Peninsula and some of the islands, such as Socotra and Madagascar, off the east African coast and Lomatophyllum which occurs on the Mascarene Islands and Madagascar—the present-day centre of generic and species diversity of the Aloaceae fundamentally is in southern Africa.
1a. Fruit a berry 1. Lomatophyllum
1b. Fruit a capsule 2
2a. Perianth segments apically connivent 2. Poellnitzia
2b. Perianth segments apically spreading or recurved 3
3a. Flowers pendulous at anthesis, perianth tube curved upwards 3. Gasteria 3b. Flowers erect, suberect or spreading at anthesis, perianth tube straight or curved downwards 4
4a. Capsule apically acuminate, underground parts distinctly bulbous 4. Chortolirion
4b. Capsule apically rounded or obtuse, underground parts rhizomatous 5
5a. Perianth bilabiate, <15 mm long, mouth not upturned 5. Haworthia
Figure 2.1 Lomatophyllum occidentale: A, habit (reduced); B, leaf, X0.4: C, terminal part of inflorescence, X0.4. Artist: G. Condy.
Figure 2.2 Poellnitzia rubriflora: A, habit, X0.4; B, terminal part of inflorescence, X0.4; C & D, flower, X0.8: E, fruit, X0.6. Artist: G. Condy.
Figure 2.3 Gasteria baylissiana: A, habit, X0.5; B, terminal part of infloresence, X0.5. Artist: G. Condy.
Figure 2.4 Chortolirion angolense: A, habit, X0.24; B, inflorescence, X0.24; C, longitudinal section of flower, one stamen removed, X1; D, flower face showing reflexed segments, X0.6; E, fruit, X0.5. Artist: G. Condy.
Figure 2.7 Astroloba bullulata: A, habit, X0.5; B, terminal part of raceme, X0.5. Artist: G. Condy.
5b. Perianth regular (if rarely weakly bilabiate then flowers
>15 mm long, mouth upturned) 6
6a. Flowers usually brightly coloured, fleshy, stamens as long as or longer than the perianth 6. Aloe
6b. Flowers dull-coloured, flimsy, stamens included 7. Astroloba
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