Yellow Spineless Aloe

Scientific Name
Aloe reynoldsii Letty
Higher Classification
Common Names
Yellow Spineless Aloe (e)
National Status
Status and Criteria
Assessment Date
L. von Staden & E.J. van Jaarsveld
A range-restricted species (EOO 120-300 km²) that occurs in a very specialized habitat. Although collecting may still cause sporadic local declines, the population is mostly in inaccessible sites that are unlikely to be targeted, especially since the species has been introduced into cultivation.
South African endemic
Provincial distribution
Eastern Cape
This species is endemic to the lower reaches of the Mbashe River catchment in the Eastern Cape.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Eastern Valley Bushveld
It grows wedged in rock crevices on exposed sites on steep cliffs above rivers.
Van Wyk and Smith (2003, 2014) places A. reynoldsii in the category Vulnerable, but do not supply specific reasons for this decision. Reynolds (1969) mentions observations that many plants were removed, presumably by succulent collectors, at the type locality after the publication of this species. However, A. reynoldsii is found in very inaccessible sites in an area of South Africa characterized by extremely poor road infrastructure, and it is very likely that there are a number of other unknown and inaccessible sites where the plants cannot be seen from roads nor reached on steep cliffs and it is unlikely that collecting would eradicate a large proportion of the population. Many steep forested cliffs from the mouth of the Mbashe River to about 10 km upstream is invaded by exotic Lantana. However, photographs of the habitat in Reynolds (1969) indicates that A. reynoldsii grows on exposed, presumably warmer north-facing cliffs that are not forested. Lantana is generally restricted to semi-shaded forest edges and clearings and probably would not invade exposed sites. Surrounding grasslands are degraded due to subsistence agriculture and overgrazing (E. van Jaarsveld pers. obs.) but this is unlikely to impact on the particular habitat of A. reynoldsii. E. van Jaarsveld (pers. comm.) do not believe that this species is particularly threatened or facing possible extinction.
Population trend
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Aloe reynoldsii LettyRare Raimondo et al. (2009)
Aloe reynoldsii LettyVU A1cD2Victor (2002)
Aloe reynoldsii LettyVulnerable Hilton-Taylor (1996)
Aloe reynoldsii LettyVulnerable Hall et al. (1980)

Feely, J. 1993. Changes in Transkein legislation relating to the protection of indigenous flora. PlantLife 8:15-18.

Hall, A.V., De Winter, M., De Winter, B. and Van Oosterhout, S.A.M. 1980. Threatened plants of southern Africa. South African National Scienctific Programmes Report 45. CSIR, Pretoria.

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

Lavranos, J.J. 2004. Aloe striata Haworth and its associates: reflections on consistency in taxonomic treatment. Aloe 41(2&3):50-51.

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.

Smith, G.F., Steyn, E.M.A., Victor, J.E., Crouch, N.R., Golding, J.S. and Hilton-Taylor, C. 2000. Aloaceae: The conservation status of Aloe in South Africa: an updated synopsis. Bothalia 30(2):206-211.

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

Van Wyk, B.-E. and Smith, G.F. 2014. Guide to the Aloes of South Africa. (Third 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. & van Jaarsveld, E.J. 2018. Aloe reynoldsii Letty. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2020.1. Accessed on 2022/08/16

Comment on this assessment Comment on this assessment
Distribution map

Search for images of Aloe reynoldsii on iNaturalist