The Rock Aloe is a small stemless aloe with thick, blue-green leaves. The leaves are usually sharply toothed on the margins and are very juicy with a yellowish, slimy sap. The sap has been used to treat stomach ailments for many centuries. The leaves also store water to enable the plant to survive drought.
Dense spikes of red and cream flowers appear in midwinter. The flowers are carried on stout stems and are more or less tubular in shape. Most aloes are important foodplants for sunbirds which visit the flowers in search of nectar and in the process pollinate them.
The Rock Aloe is native to South Africa and occurs mostly in the Mpumalanga Province, growing on granitic outcrops
Aloe petricola is found on cliffs and rocky outcrops where it clings to the substrate by its roots. The roots may be covered in a shallow soil layer but this is not always the case, instead spreading into cracks or under rocks. The Rock Aloe is used, as with all Aloes, as a remedy for a number of ailments.