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biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

Genus: Aloe

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > Monocotyledons > Order: Asparagales > Family: Xanthorrhoeaceae

About 500 species, native to Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, Socotra and Madagascar, and naturalised in Australia, the Mediterranean, India, China, South America and the Caribean Islands. A total of 138 species are native to southern Africa, one species is naturalised and a further seven species are cultivated in the region. Previously in the Asphodelaceae, which has been sunk under Xanthorrhoeaceae.

Species native to southern Africa

List from Plants of Southern Africa - an Online Checklist (SANBI), Flora of Zimbabwe and Flora of Mozambique.

Aloe aculeata

Aloe affinis


Aloe africana

Aloe albida


Aloe aloides

Aloe angelica


Aloe angolensis


Aloe arborescens

Aloe arenicola

Aloe argenticauda


Aloe aristata

Aloe aristata

Aloe asperifolia

Aloe ballii

Recorded from Zimbabwe and Mozambique.


Aloe barberae

Aloe bowiea


Aloe branddraaiensis


Aloe brevifolia

Aloe broomii

Aloe buettneri


Aloe buhrii


Aloe cameronii

Recorded from Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

Aloe carnea

Recorded from Zimbabwe.


Aloe castanea

Aloe chabaudii

Aloe chlorantha


Aloe chortolirioides


Aloe christianii

Recorded from Zimbabwe.

Aloe ciliaris

Aloe claviflora

Aloe collina

Recorded from Zimbabwe.

Aloe commixta

Aloe comosa

Aloe cooperi


Aloe corallina


Aloe cryptopoda

Aloe dabenorisana


Aloe decurva

Recorded from Mozambique.

Aloe dewetii


Aloe dewinteri


Aloe dichotoma (Kokerboom, Quiver tree)

Aloe dinteri


Aloe dominella


Aloe dyeri


Aloe ecklonis

[= Aloe kraussii]

Aloe erinacea


Aloe excelsa

Aloe falcata

Aloe ferox

Aloe ferox

Aloe fosteri


Aloe fouriei


Aloe gariepensis

Aloe gerstneri


Aloe glauca

Aloe globuligemma


Aloe gracilis


Aloe grandidentata

Aloe greatheadii

Aloe greenii


Aloe haemanthifolia


Aloe hardyi


Aloe hazeliana

Recorded from Zimbabwe.

Aloe hereroensis

Aloe humilis


Aloe inconspicua


Aloe integra


Aloe inyangensis

Recorded from Zimbabwe.

Aloe kaokoensis

Endemic to the Kaokoveld in northwestern Namibia and recently described by van Jaarsveld et al. (2006).


Aloe kniphofioides


Aloe kouebokkeveldensis


Aloe krapohliana

Aloe linearifolia


Aloe lineata


Aloe littoralis


Aloe longistyla

Aloe lutescens


Aloe maculata

Aloe marlothii

Aloe melanacantha


Aloe meyeri


Aloe micracantha


Aloe microstigma

Aloe minima

Aloe modesta


Aloe monotropa


Aloe mudenensis


Aloe munchii

Recorded from Zimbabwe.

Aloe musapana

Recorded from Zimbabwe.


Aloe myriacantha

Aloe namibensis


Aloe nubigena

Aloe omavandae


Aloe ortholopha (Dyke aloe)

Recorded from Zimbabwe.

Aloe pachygaster


Aloe parvibracteata


Aloe pearsonii

Aloe peglerae

Aloe perfoliata

Aloe petricola


Aloe pictifolia


Aloe pillansii

Aloe plicatilis

Aloe plowesii

Recorded from Zimbabwe.

Aloe pluridens

Aloe polyphylla


Aloe pratensis


Aloe pretoriensis


Aloe prinslooi


Aloe pruinosa


Aloe ramosissima

Aloe reitzii


Aloe reynoldsii


Aloe rhodesiana

Recorded from Zimbabwe.

Aloe rupestris

Aloe saundersiae


Aloe simii


Aloe sladeniana


Aloe soutpansbergensis


Aloe speciosa


Aloe spicata

Aloe striata

Aloe striatula


Aloe succotrina (Fynbos aloe)

Aloe suffulta


Aloe suprafoliata


Aloe swynnertonii

Aloe tauri

Recorded from Zimbabwe.


Aloe tenuior

Aloe thompsoniae

Aloe thompsoniae

Aloe thorncroftii


Aloe thraskii


Aloe vanbalenii


Aloe vanrooyenii  

Aloe variegata

Aloe verecunda


Aloe viridiflora


Aloe vossii


Aloe vryheidensis


Aloe wildii

Recorded from Zimbabwe.

Aloe zebrina

Species naturalised in southern Africa

List from Plants of Southern Africa - an Online Checklist (SANBI).

Aloe camperi


Other species, cultivated in southern Africa

List from Glen (2002).

Aloe abyssicola

Native to Arabia.


Aloe albiflora

Native to Madagascar.


Aloe bellatula

Native to Madagascar.


Aloe forbesii

Native to tropical Africa.


Aloe parvula

Native to Madagascar.


Aloe peckii

Native to tropical Africa.


Aloe vera

Native to Sudan.


  • Barker, N.P., Kruger, L.Y., Vlok, J.H. & Harley, E.H. 1996. RAPD data suggest the Gamkapoort Aloe to be of hybrid origin. South African Journal of Botany 62: 292–295.
  • Brandham, P.E. & Carter, S. [=Carter Holmes, S.] 1990. A revision of the Aloe tidmarshii/A. ciliaris complex in South Africa. Kew Bulletin 45: 637–645.
  • Dagne, E., Bisrat, D., Van Wyk, B.-E., Viljoen, A.M., Hellwig, G. & Steglich, W. 1997. Anthrones from Aloe microstigma. Phytochemistry 44: 1271–1274.
  • Dagne, E., Van Wyk, B.-E., Stephensen, D. & Steglich, W. 1996. Three oxanthrones from Aloe littoralis. Phytochemistry 42: 1683–1687.
  • Glen, H.F. 1987. Aloe hardii. Flowering Plants of Africa 49: t.1942.
  • Glen, H.F. 1988. Aloe plicatilis. Flowering Plants of Africa 50: t.1972.
  • Glen, H.F. 2002. Cultivated plants of southern Africa. Jacana, Johannesburg.

  • Glen, H.F. & Craib, C. 1993. Aloe haemanthifolia. Flowering Plants of Africa 52: t.2063.
  • Glen, H.F. & Hardy, D.S. 1986. Aloe thorncroftii. Flowering Plants of Africa 49: t.1936.
  • Glen, H.F. & Hardy, D.S. 1986. A method for the nondestructive examination of leaves of Aloe species by SEM. Bothalia 16: 53–55.
  • Glen, H.F. & Hardy, D.S. 1987. Aloe cooperi subsp. pulchra. Flowering Plants of Africa 49: t.1944.
  • Glen, H.F. & Hardy, D.S. 1987. Aloe marlotthii subsp. orientalis. Flowering Plants of Africa 49: t.1943.
  • Glen, H.F. & Hardy, D.S. 1987. Nomenclatural notes on three southern African representatives of the genus Aloe. South African Journal of Botany 53: 489–492.
  • Glen, H.F. & Hardy, D.S. 1990. Aloe albida. Flowering Plants of Africa 51: t.2010.
  • Glen, H.F. & Hardy, D.S. 1990. Aloe cameronii var. bondana. Flowering Plants of Africa 51: t.2011.
  • Glen, H.F. & Hardy, D.S. 1990. Aloe gerstneri. Flowering Plants of Africa 51: t.2008.
  • Glen, H.F. & Hardy, D.S. 1991. Notes on African plants: Liliaceae (Asphodelaceae). The type specimen of Aloe soutpansbergensis. Bothalia 21: 151–152.
  • Glen, H.F. & Hardy, D.S. 1992. Aloe meyeri. Flowering Plants of Africa 52: t.2065.
  • Glen, H.F. & Hardy, D.S. 1995. Aloe section Anguialoe and the problem of Aloe spicata L.f. (Aloaceae). Haseltonia 3: 92–103.
  • Glen, H.F. & Smith, G.F. 1995. Notes on the typification of some species of Aloe (Asphodelaceae/Aloaceae). Bothalia 25: 37–42.
  • Glen, H.F., Smith, G.F. & Hardy, D.S. 1995. Notes on African plants: Asphodelaceae/Aloaceae: typification of Aloe species described by B.H. Groenewald. Bothalia 25: 97–99.
  • Hardy, D.S. & Glen, H.F. 1987. Aloe fouriei. Flowering Plants of Africa 49: t.1941.
  • Holzapfel, C.W., Wessels, P.L., Van Wyk, B.-E., Marais, W. & Portwig, M. 1997. Chromone and aloin derivatives from Aloe broomii, A. africana and A. speciosa. Phytochemistry 45: 97–102.
  • Marx, G. 1986. Aloe pratensis. Aloe 23: 89.
  • Rebelo, A.G., Holmes, P.M., Hilton-Taylor, C., Samper, C., Knight, R.S., Kurzweil, H. & Pabst, P. 1989. Branching patterns in Aloe dichotoma—is A. ramosissima a separate species? Madoqua 16: 23–26.
  • Reynolds, G.W. 1950. The Aloes of South Africa. The Trustees of the The Aloes of South Africa Book Fund, Johannesburg (also 1969, 1974 and 1982 editions).

  • Smith, G.F. 1990. Nomenclatural notes on the subsection Bowieae in Aloe (Asphodelaceae: Alooideae). South African Journal of Botany 56: 303–308.
  • Smith, G.F. 1993. Notes on the taxonomic and conservation status of Aloe micracantha (Asphodelaceae: Alooideae). Haseltonia 1: 55–60.
  • Smith, G.F. & Correia, R.I. De S. 1988. Notes on the ecesis of Aloe davyana (Asphodelaceae: Alooideae) in seed-beds and under natural conditions. South African Journal of Science 84: 873.
  • Smith, G.F. & Correia, R.I. De S. 1992. Establishment of Aloe greatheadii var. davyana from seed for use in reclamation trials. Landscape and Urban Planning 23: 47–54.
  • Smith, G.F. and Crouch, N.R. 2006. Aloe vanrooyenii: a distinctive new maculate aloe from KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Bothalia 36(1): 73-75.

  • Smith, G.F., Glen. H.F., Van Wyk, A.E. & Condy, G. 1994. Aloe bowiea. Flowering Plants of Africa 53: 80– 85.
  • Smith, G.F. & Van Wyk, A.E. 1990. Notes on the distribution and habitat of Aloe bowiea (Liliaceae/Asphodelaceae: Alooideae), an endangered and little-known species from the eastern Cape. Bothalia 20: 123–125.
  • Smith, G.F. & Van Wyk, A.E. 1993. Notes on the pollen morphology and taxonomy of Aloe bowiea (Asphodelaceae: Alooideae). Madoqua 18: 93–99.
  • Smith, G.F., Van Wyk, B.-E. & Glen. H.F. 1994. Asphodelaceae/Aloaceae: Aloe barberae to replace A. bainesii. Bothalia 24: 34–35.
  • Smith, G.F., Van Wyk, B.-E., Mφssmer, M. & Viljoen, A.M. 1995. The taxonomy of Aloinella, Guillauminia and Lemeea (Aloaceae). Taxon 44: 513– 517.
  • Steyn, E.M.A., Smith, G.F., Nilsson, S. & Grafstrφm, E. 1998. Pollen morphology in Aloe L. Grana 37: 23–27.
  • Van der Bank, F.H. & Van Wyk, B.-E. 1996. Biochemical genetic markers to identify hybrids between Aloe arborescens and A. ferox (Aloaceae). South African Journal of Botany 62: 328–331.
  • Van der Bank, F.H., Van Wyk, B.-E. & Van der Bank, M. 1995. Genetic variation in two economically important Aloe species (Aloaceae). Biochemical Systematics and Ecology 23: 251–256.
  • Van Heerden, F.R., Van Wyk, B.-E. & Viljoen, A.M. 1996. Aloeresins E and F, two chromone derivatives from Aloe peglerae. Phytochemistry 43: 867–869.
  • Van Jaarsveld, E.J. 1981. Aloe meyeri Van Jaarsveld—a new Aloe from the northwest Cape (RSA). Journal of South African Botany 47: 567–571.
  • Van Jaarsveld, E.J. 1982. Aloe dabenorisana Van Jaarsveld: a new Aloe from the northwest Cape (RSA). Journal of South African Botany 48: 419–424.
  • Van Jaarsveld, E.J. 1985. Aloe komaggasensis: a new species from the northwest Cape (RSA). South African Journal of Botany 51: 287–289.
  • Van Jaarsveld, E.J., Swanepoel, W. and van Wyk, A.E. 2006. Aloe kaokoensis, a new species from the Kaokoveld, Northwestern Namibia. Bothalia 36(1): 75-77.

  • Van Wyk, B.-E. & Smith, G.F. 1996. Guide to the aloes of South Africa. Briza Publications, Pretoria. 302 pp.
  • Van Wyk, B.-E., Van Oudtshoorn, M.C.B. & Smith, G.F. 1995. Geographical variation in the major compounds of Aloe ferox leaf exudate. Planta Medica 61: 250–253.
  • Van Wyk, B.-E., Yenesew, A. & Dagne, E. 1995. Chemotaxonomic survey of anthraquinones and preanthraquinones in the roots of Aloe species. Biochemical Systematics and Ecology 23: 267–275.
  • Venter, H.J.T. & Beukes, G.H. 1982. A new species of Aloe (Liliaceae) from South Africa. Kew Bulletin 36: 675–678.
  • Viljoen, A.M., Van Wyk, B.-E. et al. 1996. The evolution of aloes—new clues from their leaf chemistry. Aloe 33: 30–33.
  • Viljoen, A.M., Van Wyk, B.-E. & Dagne, E. 1996. The chemotaxonomic value of 10-hydroxyaloin and its derivatives in Aloe series Asperifoliae. Kew Bulletin 51: 159–168.
  • Viljoen, A.M., Van Wyk, B.-E., Van der Bank, F.H. & Smith, G.F. 1996. A biochemical and chemical evaluation of the species concept of Aloe candelabrum (Aloaceae). Taxon 45: 461–471.
  • Vorster, P.J. 1983. Aloe meyeri Van Jaarsveld, and A. richtersveldensis Venter & Beukes. Journal of South African Botany 49: 175.
  • Wessels, P.L., Holzapfel, C.W., Van Wyk, B.-E. & Marais, W. 1996. Plicataloside, an O,O-diglycosylated naphthalene derivative from Aloe plicatilis. Phytochemistry 41: 1547–1551.