Comparing the first three pictures (taken in the wild) to the fourth (taken in cultivation), it may be hard to believe that they represent the same species.
The plants occur in quartz gravel on hillocks on the southwestern Knersvlakte.
They are geophytes, with a tuber up to 1.5 cm tall and 2 cm wide and 8-14 leaves, which are about 5 mm wide and die back at flowering.
The inflorescence is to 15 cm tall, with about 10 flowers, appearing in late spring / early summer (October-November).
Eburneus means ivory-white and refers to the colour of the flowers. These appear from June through September and are up to about 3 cm in diameter, rather big for the size of the plants.
The leaves are densely covered with papillae and 1-2 cm long.
The species has a relatively small distribution area in the southwest corner of the Great Karoo, from Sutherland to Matjiesfontein.
In general, this species is stemless and growing singly or in small groups, but sometimes groups of over 20 rosettes are formed.
Each rosette has 14-16 leaves, about 16 cm long and 6 cm wide at the base, usually olive-green with many whitish-green spots, but in some cases light green and unspotted.
The flowers are very striking and because of their conspicuous stripes apparently unique within the genus.
The plants occur on gypsum soil in the Al Madu (Ahl Medow) Mountain Range (north of Erigavo) in Somaliland, at 1,500 to 1,550 m, mostly in shade.
Aloe somaliensis was described in 1899, from plants that were raised at Kew from seeds that had been collected a few years before, probably at Sheikh pass in Somaliland Protectorate (as it was then called). It is now known to occur not only in Somaliland but also in Djibouti, on rocky slopes at altitudes between 700 and 1700 m.
It may be of interest to know that the accompanying pictures were taken late January 2015, likely at roughly the same spot the original seeds came from.
The plants grow singly or in small groups and bear 12-16 leaves, usually narrowly lance-shaped and about 20 cm long.
The inflorescences are 60-80 cm tall.
As the first picture shows, these up to 2m tall, dense clumps are very conspicuous in the field.
The branches are yellowish-green to grey-green, usually up to 3 cm thick at the base and 1.2 cm in diameter above, with leaves that soon disappear.
Between July to September one can find the plants in flower.
The plants occur mainly in flat open gravelly or sandy plains, sometimes on low stony slopes. They are widely distributed from the Haalenberg east of Luederitz in Namibia to Kamieskroon in Namaqualand and Namies in Bushmanland.
Like other Stomatiums, these plants form small to medium-sized cushions, which over time often die down from the centre.
The leaves are spatula-shaped to three-angled in cross-section and distinctly broadened towards the tips. The margins usually bear 3-6 (but sometimes up to 18) teeth, whereas the keel is either smooth or decorated with 1-3 teeth.
The flowers appear in September; they open in the evening, are to 22 mm in diameter and have bright yellow petals with red tips.
The plants are found in the southwest corner of the distribution area of Stomatium, on shallow gravel and stony ground in the Sutherland-Laingsburg area, where it can be quite cold in winter.
The pictures were taken in spring and summer, between mid October (#1) and mid January (#4).