Aloe inconspicua

Scientific Name
Aloe inconspicua Plowes
Higher Classification
National Status
Status and Criteria
Endangered B1ab(iii)+2ab(iii)
Assessment Date
L. von Staden
A rare, range-restricted species (EOO 200 km²) that moved rapidly from VU D2 to EN B when potential threats became a reality. Plans in 2002 were to convert most of the range of this species to a private conservancy, but between 2002 and 2007 the area of the proposed conservancy was granted to a local community in a land claim. Subsequently, a newly established informal settlement destroyed part of one subpopulation at one of the only four known locations. Spreading informal settlements and increasing pressures on the land are expected.
South African endemic
Provincial distribution
Bushman's River Valley, near Estcourt.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Thukela Thornveld
Transition between grassland and valley bushveld, mostly in short grassland, generally on gently sloping ground beside large hills and in hilly thornveld.
The main threat to A. inconspicua is habitat degradation as a result of heavy overgrazing. The soils in the Bushmans River valley is particularly sensitive to erosion, and overgrazing is likely to cause extensive damage (Craib 2005, T. Makholela pers. obs.) Healthy subpopulations of A. inconspicua have been maintained until recently on carefully managed rangelands where only light grazing was permitted. The land was also in the process of being transferred to a private conservancy. However, the farms were recently handed over to a local community in a land claim. As a result of land claims, human pressures on the land is greatly increased: farms that were formerly supporting single families are being handed over to communities and the land is therefore being required to sustain the livelihoods of a far larger group of people. The most likely outcome of the land transfer is unfortunately probably a great increase in the number of stock grazing the land which will inevitably result in habitat degradation and the decline of A. inconspicua. The establishment and ongoing spread of informal settlements have also partly destroyed at least one known subpopulation. Urbanization and expanding formal settlements around Estcourt and Weenen is likely to cause ongoing decline in the habitat of A. inconspicua.
Population trend
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Aloe inconspicua PlowesEN B1ab(iii)+2ab(iii)Raimondo et al. (2009)
Aloe inconspicua PlowesVU D2Victor (2002)
Aloe inconspicua PlowesLower Risk - Near Threatened Scott-Shaw (1999)
Aloe inconspicua PlowesRare Hilton-Taylor (1996)

Craib, C. 2005. Grass Aloes in the South African Veld. Umdaus Press, Hatfield.

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

Plowes, D.C.H. 1986. Aloe inconspicua, a new species from Natal. Aloe 23(2):32-33.

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.

Scott-Shaw, C.R. 1999. Rare and threatened plants of KwaZulu-Natal and neighbouring regions. KwaZulu-Natal Nature Conservation Service, Pietermaritzburg.

Van Wyk, B.-E. and Smith, G. 1996. Guide to the aloes of South Africa. Briza Publications, Pretoria.

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.

von Staden, L. 2007. Aloe inconspicua Plowes. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2017.1. Accessed on 2019/05/26

Comment on this assessment Comment on this assessment
Distribution map

© E. van Wyk

Search for images of Aloe inconspicua on iSpot