The bitter aloe will reach 2-3 metres in height with the leaves arranged in a rosette. The old leaves remain after they have dried, forming a “petticoat” on the stem. The leaves are a dull green, sometimes with a slightly blue look to them. They may also have a reddish tinge. The flowers are carried in a large candelabra-like flower-head. There are usually between five and eight branches, each carrying a spike-like head of many flowers. Flower colour varies from yellowy-orange to bright red. It grows both in the open and in bushy areas.