Scientific Name
Aloe longistyla Baker
Higher Classification
Common Names
Karoo Aloe (e), Karoo-aalwyn (a), Ramenas (a)
National Status
Status and Criteria
Data Deficient - Insufficient Information
Assessment Date
L. von Staden
A widespread species (EOO 81 500 km²) that was common in the past, but anecdotal reports indicate that is has become very rare as a result of illegal collecting and habitat degradation as a result of overgrazing. Hilton-Taylor (1996) had this species listed as vulnerable. Most experts feel that this species is likely threatened, but data are insufficient to assign a threat status.
South African endemic
Provincial distribution
Eastern Cape, Western Cape
Calitzdorp eastwards to Grahamstown and northwards to Graaff-Reinet, Cradock and Middelburg.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Nama Karoo, Succulent Karoo
Occurs on gentle slopes and on flat or stony ground in karroid shrubland. Plants are usually scattered and grow under 'nurse' shrubs, particularly Pteronia and Pentzia species.
Illegal collecting and habitat degradation (mainly overgrazing) are the main threats to this species. Vlok (2006), in a survey of the vegetation of the Little Karoo, records that 62% of the vegetation types in which A. longistyla occurs is severely grazed. P.V. Bruyns (pers. comm.) reports that overgrazing of cover shrubs is a problem as this species seems to be vulnerable to direct exposure to sun, especially during the seedling stage and he believes that some subpopulations are certainly endangered. According to Anne Lise Schutte-Vlok ostrich farming is severely degrading the habitat of A. longistyla in the Little Karoo and parts of the Eastern Cape. The Little Karoo, however, is only a small subsection of the wide distribution range of this species. No data on extent of overgrazing/land degradation elsewhere in the range is available. According to National Land Cover data (1996) only about 6% of the range of A. longistyla is degraded, however, land degradation is generally vastly underestimated by land cover data derived from remote sensing, and only severe erosion is generally recorded. Illegal collecting of this attractive dwarf aloe also apparently has led to extensive declines in some subpopulations (A.L. Schutte-Vlok pers. comm.) Tony Palmer repeated a transect done originally by the late Dr. R.A. Dyer in 1929, along which A. longistyla had been recorded. No specimens of this species could be found during the survey. A. Palmer (pers. comm.) suspects that collectors may have plundered the lot. B. Bayer (pers. comm.) however feels that this species is still fairly common, whereas P.V. Bruyns (pers. comm.) reports that it appears to be becoming uncommon. Overcollecting may probably just be an intensive threat in known and accessible localities, such as along roadsides. It is likely that in the extensive and very sparsely populated range of this species there are still a number of unknown healthy subpopulations in remote and inaccessible areas. Near Beaufort West subpopulations of A. longistyla are directly threatened by a proposed uranium mine, this species was recorded at the site during an environmental impact survey (A.L. Schutte-Vlok pers. comm.).
Population trend
Protected in the Karoo National Park (Beaufort West) and the Karoo Nature Reserve (Graaff-Reinet).
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Aloe longistyla BakerData Deficient Raimondo et al. (2009)
Aloe longistyla BakerVU A1acdVictor (2002)
Aloe longistyla BakerVulnerable Hilton-Taylor (1996)

Goldblatt, P. and Manning, J.C. 2000. Cape Plants: A conspectus of the Cape Flora of South Africa. Strelitzia 9. National Botanical Institute, Cape Town.

Hardy, D.S. 1982. Cover story: Aloe longistyla Bak. Aloe 19(2):35.

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

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. 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.

Victor, J.E. and Dold, A.P. 2003. Threatened plants of the Albany Centre of Floristic Endemism, South Africa. South African Journal of Science 99:437-446.

Vlok, J. and Schutte-Vlok, A.L. 2010. Plants of the Klein Karoo. Umdaus Press, Hatfield.

von Staden, L. 2008. Aloe longistyla Baker. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2017.1. Accessed on 2019/05/23

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Distribution map

© J.H. Vlok/A.L. Schutte-Vlok

© J.H. Vlok/A.L. Schutte-Vlok

© J.H. Vlok/A.L. Schutte-Vlok

© L. von Staden

© L. von Staden

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