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The Defensive Aloe

There is an aloe in my garden I admire. With spiny fronds that protrude and odd wedges for leaves it looks like a kind of immobile alien.  Viewed from a distance the word curmudgeon comes to mind.  As a plant, the aloe looks defensive. That is because it is, with a supreme elegance. Its adaptions to the harshness of its surrounding are genius.

It is covered in small sharp thorns. Underneath the thorns is a thick waxy skin that prevents it losing moisture. Inside the frond is viscous foul tasting goo that, as a child, my mother would put on …

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