Giant Quiver Tree

Scientific Name
Aloidendron pillansii (L.Guthrie) Klopper & Gideon.F.Sm.
Higher Classification
Aloe pillansii L.Guthrie
Common Names
Bastard Quiver Tree (e), Baster-kokerboom (a), Die Lange (a), False Quiver Tree (e), Giant Quiver Tree (e), Reusekokerboom (a), Reuse-kokerboom (a)
National Status
Status and Criteria
Endangered B1ab(iii,v)+2ab(iii,v)
Assessment Date
E. Swart, W. Foden, D. Raimondo & P.C.V. Van Wyk
A range-restricted species occurring in the Gariep Centre (EOO in South Africa 302 km²), known from one to two locations. It has a small population and continues to decline. It is likely that climate change-related regional warming is causing long-term declines similar to those documented for its sister species, A. dichotoma.
Not endemic to South Africa
Provincial distribution
Northern Cape
Richtersveld and southern Namibia.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Central Richtersveld Mountain Shrubland, Western Gariep Hills Desert, Richtersberg Mountain Desert
Succulent karoo shrubland on dry, rocky dolomite and gneiss hillsides.
The species is threaetened by mining (Rosh Pinah) in Namibia. The species is also threatened by collection for horticulture throughout its range. Little recruitment has been observed and this is suspected to be due to climate change. The species is threatened by livestock (browsing and trampling) throughout the Richtersveld section of its range.

Clear climate change-related declines have been well documented in A. pillansii's sister species Aloidendron dichotoma. Similar declines appear to be taking place with Aloidendron pillansii and closer monitoring of subpopulations is required to determine the rate of this decline. Death of individuals and lack of recruitment can be seen at the subpopulation on Cornell's Kop. In 1953 this population was described as plentiful, but now only around 100 adults remain with many dead individuals present. A lack of recruitment may be explained by a combination of climate change and degradation as a result of overgrazing, but younger individuals are also targeted by collectors, as they are easier to remove than mature individuals.

Population trend
Protected in the Richtersveld National Park.
Reports of A. pillansii in the Brandberg are incorrect. There are a number of sighting records from southern and central Namibia, which are supposedly this species (Reynolds 1982). However, more definite confirmation is required, as many lean plants of A. dichotoma may resemble A. pillansii.
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Aloidendron pillansii (L.Guthrie) Klopper & Gideon.F.Sm.EN B1ab(iii,v)2014.1
Aloe pillansii L.GuthrieEN B1ab(iii,v)Raimondo et al. (2009)
Aloe pillansii L.GuthrieCR A2aceVictor (2002)
Aloe pillansii L.GuthrieEndangered Hilton-Taylor (1996)

Grace, O.M., Klopper, R.R., Smith, G.F., Crouch, N.R., Figueiredo, E., Rønsted, N. and Van Wyk, A.E. 2013. A revised generic classification for Aloe (Xanthorrhoeaceae subfam. Asphodeloideae). Phytotaxa 76(1):7-14.

Hilton-Taylor, C. 1996. Red data list of southern African plants. Strelitzia 4. South African National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.

Klopper, R.R. and Smith, G.F. 2007. The genus Aloe (Asphodelaceae: Alooideae) in Namaqualand, South Africa. Haseltonia 13:38-51.

Midgley, J. 1997. The decline of Aloe pillansii at Cornell's Kop in the Richtersveld. Aloe 34(1&2):39.

Midgley, J., Cowling, R.M., Hendriks, H., Desmet, P.G., Esler, K.J. and Rundel, P. 1996. Tree Succulents in the Richtersveld. Veld & Flora 28:74-75.

Raimondo, D., von Staden, L., Foden, W., Victor, J.E., Helme, N.A., Turner, R.C., Kamundi, D.A. and Manyama, P.A. 2009. Red List of South African Plants. Strelitzia 25. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria.

Reynolds, G.W. 1969. The Aloes of South Africa. A.A. Balkema, Cape Town.

Van Wyk, B.-E. and Smith, G. 2003. Guide to aloes of South Africa. (2nd ed.). Briza Publications, Pretoria.

Victor, J.E. 2002. South Africa. In: J.S. Golding (ed), Southern African plant Red Data Lists. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report 14 (pp. 93-120), SABONET, Pretoria.

Williamson, G. 1998. The ecological status of Aloe pillansii (Aloaceae) in the Richtersveld with particular reference to Cornellskop. Bradleya 16:1-8.

Swart, E., Foden, W., Raimondo, D. & Van Wyk, P.C.V. 2015. Aloidendron pillansii (L.Guthrie) Klopper & Gideon.F.Sm. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2020.1. Accessed on 2024/02/25

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Distribution map

© L. von Staden

© L. von Staden

© C. Paterson-Jones

© E.J. van Jaarsveld

© E.J. van Jaarsveld

© E.J. van Jaarsveld

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