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Aloe Vera is a plant, which is well known as a medicine aloe. It is an evergreen, succulent, perennial plant. The plant has flashy and thick leaves with serrated margins on them. It grows from 60sm to 1m tall. The flowers of the plant are pendulous. They have a yellow tubular corolla to 3 sm. There are over 450 species of Aloe Vera in the world. The most widely used in products manufacturing is Aloe Vera. Aloe Vera is widely used in modern herbal practice. There are edible parts in the plant. They are seeds and leaves. The leaves contain a clear gel, which is helpful for wounds and burns. Moreover, it makes an excellent treatment for skin disorders. It is effective antibacterial agent (Tables 1, 2). The base of the leaf contains a yellow sap, which is rich on anthraquinones. This means that Aloe is useful digestive stimulant and a strong laxative. Aloe Vera is often used in medicine. The plant may be used as Emmenagogue, Laxative, Emollient, Skin, Stimulant, Stomachic, Purgative, Miscellany, Vulnerary, and Vermifuge. This plant is often used for cancer treatment. All positive effects of Aloe Vera may be caused due to components the plant includes. They are andlectins, mannans, anthraquinones, and polysaccharides. Aloe Vera is also often used in cosmetics and pollution.
Aloe Vera has been used throughout the history. Even in ancient Egypt, Cleopatra has considered aloe plant as her own skin care and beauty secret. In Cleopatra’s time, aloe was considered as the ‘plant of immortality’.
As the matter of fact, Aloe Vera is a water-retaining plant. It is often used in medical purposes. Aloe is considered to have northern African origin. It is grown today for both commercial and personal use. It is possible to grow the plant in the field or indoor pot. Very often people grow Aloe Vera plant for decorative reasons. Anyway, the plant is mainly cultivated to extract the clear fluid contained inside. The fluid is able to promote healing, cooling, and soothing effect. It is important to mention that there is one problem related to cultivating. The problem lies in a contact with an aloin. The aloin is a liquid inside a leave of the plant. The aloin can irritate the skin in case of contact. If ingesting the plant, the person would ingest aloin as well. If person has ingested aloin, it can cause serious bowl problems. Moreover, it can prevent the colon from absorbing water. Aloe Vera is a plant that should not be watered as often as one might think. It depends on the fact that aloe being succulents holds a lot of water inside the plant. The other warning for aloe plants is bacterial rot. Overwatering the plant might lead to bacterial rot. It is the reason why the leaves of the plant become soft and mushy.
Problems with Aloe Vera Plants
It is evident that Aloe Vera has become the most popular medical herbal. Nowadays, aloe is cultivated either as an ornamental succulent or as a medicinal plant. Aloe Vera looks like a typical aloe plant with rosette of erects and green leaves, which becomes pink in strong sunlight. Aloe can grow outdoors in frost-free areas or as a pot plant on a windowsill. As aloe is hard resistant for most pests, the plant can suffer from a few common problems (Bramwell, 2002). The plants of aloe are adapted to the dry conditions, so they are vulnerable to overwatering and rot.
The other warning is Aphids. Aphids are tiny black, yellow or green insects, which affect the plant (Ombrello, n.d.). Commonly, they infest the new leaves and flowers spikes of aloe plant. They infest only new leaves, because the mature leaves have too thick skin for them to feed on. It is possible to treat and aphid infestation on a plant with a pyrethrin-based insecticide spray, which was formulated for houseplants. Fungus gnats are other wreckers of plants. Fungus gnats are tiny black mosquitoes that make harm to the aloe plants as well. They emerge from the soil around the plant at night.
Pests of Succulent Plants
From time to time, most collections of succulent plants develop problems. It means that there are some pests, diseases, and incorrect cultural conditions that prompt problems for plants. There are no problems if the plant is cared properly. However, it turns out to be difficult to grow a succulent plant in climate, which is different from the native one (Lukavics, n.d.). Indiscriminately, pests and diseases might affect either big collections in greenhouses or few windowsill plants (Hodgkiss, 2012). The experience of the grower is not dominant here. There are some precautions able to reduce the frequency of problem occurrence. An appropriative treatment allows growers to control pests. It is significant to note that large collections cannot be saved from pests’ affection.
The Mealy Bugs
The mealy bugs are the most popular pest for aloe plant (Pictures 1, 2). It is very hard to identify the mealy bugs for amateur grower, because of their small size. The individual sensitivity and host-plant rate of mealy bugs is poorly characterized. Anyway, there are few species of mealy bugs in the collections around the world. The insects are small, grey or light brown, so they are almost invisible on thespines of cacti. Generally, mealy bugs look like tiny woodlice about 2-3 mm long. Their emergence indicates that the aloe is overwatered. The adult mealy bug is able to infest the roots of the plant (Lukavics, n.d.). A little methylated spirits able to kill mealy bugs. These bugs might be washed off the surface of the leaves with the high pressure water jet from a sprayer. Some kinds of smokes are also effective against mealy bags.
In addition, there are aloe mites (Picture 3), which might affect aloe and cause development of irregular bumps on the leaves of the plant. They spread widely due to wind or contact. The aloe plant mites are microscopic and worm-like mites (Cheruiyot, 2009). A commercial miticide or acariside treat aloe mites. The damage of aloe mites is not reversible, if the mites were removed with the miticide.
The other warning that affects aloe directly is scale insects (Picture 4). The scale inserts are located on the surface of the leaves and look like brown or yellow bumps. It is hard to fight with them, because their waterproof scale makes them resistant to pesticide sprays. Moreover, they are harmful not only for aloe plants. They can transmit virus diseases between plants. Particularly, scale insects appear on outside plants. As the matter of fact, aloe scales are flat and colored according to the species. They can be white or radish brown. The regular usage of systemic insecticidal sprays may prevent the appearance of scale insects.
Diseases of Succulent Plants
The succulent plants can be affected by the range of bacterial and fungal diseases. Some of succulent plants may die very rapidly, as soon as the disease has appeared. The fungal spores are opportunists, which are waiting for correct conditions for germination. It is worth noting that generally fungi do not affect succulent and cactus plants, because of relatively dry conditions used by growers (Lee, n.d.). Damp conditions are universal for fungal diseased development. It is evident that aloe plant does not need much water. Therefore, the fungal diseases appear in the case of overwatering or condensation to evaporate. Insect pests penetrate the plants’ epidermis to feed on juice. In this way, insect pests provide the entry for fungi spores into the inner tissues (Hodgkiss, 2012). However, there are some fungi spores, which provide their own mechanism to destroy the plants’ epidermis and penetrate into the plant.
Aloe Rust is widely spread fungi disease that affects plants (Pictures 5, 6). It is a fungus, which causes brown or black spots on the leaves’ surface (Lee, n.d.). It is significant for aloe plants’ cultivation with commercial goal. The oxidation of phenolic substances in the sap causes the black spots. They seal the affected area of the leaves. Admittedly, the black spots are permanent and unsightly. However, usually they do not spread. The spraying with a systemic fungicide can discourage fungi spots. Anyway, the prevention is the best option. The leaves are susceptible for damp. Hence, it is compulsory to avoid access damp in cool weather and do not allow water to lie on the leaves.
Black or Sooty Mold
Black or Sooty Mold is ubiquitous fungus that is often seen on the leaves of the plants (Pictures 7, 8). Any kind of plants might be affected by Black Mold. Basically, Sooty Mold is rather unsightly than harmful for healthy plants.
Basal Stem Rot
Basal Stem Rot is a rotting of stems caused by damp or cold conditions (Picture 9). It often occurs were damp soil is in prolonged contact with the plant’s stem. The rotten tissues may be colored black or radish brown. It depends on the plant and the specie affected it. It is possible to save the plant or re-root it if the stem is cut well above the rotten part of the plant. It is worth saying that there are many reasons, which can cause black spots on the plants’ leaves. Actually, it may be prolonged contact with the water, overwatering, unsuitable climate conditions, etc.
To sum up, the majority of plants’ diseases are caused by bacterial and fungal spores. In many cases of infection, the poor culture and fungal attack are linked. It is possible to prevent all spots problems and development of plants’ diseases by improving temperature control, ventilation, watering and application of fertilizer.
Business and Economics of the Aloe Vera Plant
For more than 300 years, people investigate healing properties of aloe plants. It is evident that aloe plants have gained their approval either locally or internationally (KenyaTimes, 2009). The market of its products grows. It has developed from what is used to be small scale enterprises to great business venture. Sometimes business ventures come along. The opportunity to use Aloe Vera in business is unique. It depends on the fact that Aloe Vera is considered to be a product used in all spheres of human. Aloe plants are widely used to produce healing, caring, and wellness products. Recently, the commercial appeal of aloe’ sap has grown in the world market. Aloe Vera is of great economic importance. Its extract is included in all beauty, and pharmaceutical preparations. Moreover, its extract positively effects human body (Tables 3, 4). The juice of aloe is boiled to get a dry substance, which is used to make soap and other products containing Aloe Vera. As the matter of fact, majority of commercial aloe grower make only substance of aloe juice and distribute it to other manufactories. Mainly, poor Mediterranean countries have suitable climate conditions to plant Aloe Vera. This helps them to increase their economics and involve money in the country. Kenya and India take leading positions in producing Aloe Vera for the world market. It goes without saying that Aloe Vera’s growing is fruitful business, because people all over the world use aloe extract in all branches of their living. Growing Aloe Vera does not require great efforts and minimum amount of maintenance. It is compulsory to provide the plants with the environment they like and be sure that they grow accordingly. In order to make business prosperous, it is important to protect the plants from enemies. It is of great value to observe ant’s invasion on the farm to prevent possible problems. However, it is determined that products containing glucomannans or acemmanan can be labeled as Aloe Vera products. The aloe products are regulated by an electronic document published by IASC in 2009.
In conclusion, aloe has a lot of health benefits due to medical extracts the plant contains. That is why this plant is deemed to be authentically pleasing. Admittedly, the plant contains a share of different problems. The origin of the plant is uncertain. It is believed to be a North Africa, but it is so widely cultivated that it is hard to determine exactly. Nowadays, aloe is cultivated either as an ornamental succulent or as a medicinal plant. Aloe Vera has been used throughout the history. Even in ancient Egypt, Cleopatra has considered aloe plant as her own skin care and beauty secret. In Cleopatra’s time, aloe was considered as the ‘plant of immortality’. Nowadays, these plants turned out to be a good business. It takes a good place on the global market. European Union, China, Korea and other countries have established standards to determine what the finished product of Aloe Vera is. There are over 450 species of Aloe Vera in the world. The most widely used in products manufacturing is Aloe Vera. It is grown today for both commercial and personal use. It is possible to grow the plant in the field or indoor pot. The plant is mainly cultivated to extract the clear fluid contained inside, which has healing, cooling, and soothing effect.
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