The rock aloe is characterised by its thick, blue-green ridged leaves that contain a rich slimy sap that is used to cure stomach ailments in South Africa. The thick leaves also store water during the dry seasons. The rock aloe blooms spikes of red and cream flowers, in midwinter.
The flowers have a tubular appearance and are carried on stout stems. They are brightly coloured in order to attract the sunbirds, whose nectar forms an important part in its diet. The sunbird in turn helps to pollinate the aloe.
The rock aloe grows mainly in Mpumalanga Province, and is native to South Africa, growing on granitic outcrops.
Like all aloes, the rock aloe is also used for medicinal purposes in South Africa. They grow on rocky outcrops with the roots being able to spread between the cracks to reach the soil.