This is one of the best known South african plants with a long history of medicinal use. The leaves are arranged in a rosette. The old leaves remain after they have dried, forming a “petticoat” on the stem. They are a dull green, sometimes with a slightly blue look to them and may also have a reddish tinge.
The flowers are carried in a large candelabra-like flower-head with between five and eight branches, each one carrying a spike-like head of many flowers. Flower colour varies from yellowy-orange to bright red. Many bird species as well as insects are attracted by this stunning plant.
The name derived from ‘ferocious’ referring to the spiny leaves.