Scientific Name
Aloe thompsoniae Groenew.
Higher Classification
National Status
Status and Criteria
Vulnerable D2
Assessment Date
H. Mtshali & L. von Staden
Aloe thompsoniae is a rare, range-restricted species (extent of occurrence 449-837 km²) and is known from five locations. It is potentially threatened by competition from alien invasive plants, illegal succulent collecting and habitat degradation due to livestock grazing.
South African endemic
Provincial distribution
This species is endemic to the Wolkberg Mountains, a known centre of endemism around Haenertsburg in Limpopo Province.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Woodbush Granite Grassland, Northern Escarpment Quartzite Sourveld, Wolkberg Dolomite Grassland
It occurs in rock crevices on steep cliffs, or in seeps or shallow soils at the edge of large exposed rock sheets in montane mistbelt grassland.
A. thompsoniae is a rare and localized endemic, and is a popular horticultural subject. It has suffered declines due to illegal collection of wild plants in the past (Van Wyk and Smith 2014), and collecting remains a potential threat to plants in accessible locations. It was last recorded in the Woodbush area in the 1940s, and is suspected to be locally extinct in this area due to habitat loss to timber plantations. Elsewhere in the Wolkberg, A. thompsoniae occurs in high altitude protected grasslands above timber plantations on the lower slopes, and is not suspected to have declined significantly due to habitat loss to plantations (Craib 2005). There is however an ongoing risk of escaped pine seedlings invading this species' habitat. Escaped pines are present in low densities at most known locations for this species, and requires ongoing clearing and management. Livestock grazing within protected wilderness areas in Limpopo Province is also a concern, as they aid the spread of invasive species as well as cause degradation of grassland diversity. Livestock have been noted at two known locations where this species occurs. This species is unlikely to be browsed, but is potentially vulnerable to trampling and erosion resulting from grazing.

Subpopulations are small and localized to suitable habitat. It is not suspected to be declining, but requires monitoring, in order to detect the impacts of illegal succulent collecting and grazing on the population.

Population trend
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Aloe thompsoniae Groenew.Rare Raimondo et al. (2009)
Aloe thompsoniae Groenew.EN B1B2eVictor (2002)
Aloe thompsoniae Groenew.Indeterminate Hilton-Taylor (1996)
Aloe thompsoniae Groenew.Uncertain Hall et al. (1980)

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

Glen, H.F. and Hardy, D.S. 2000. Aloaceae (First part): Aloe. In: G. Germishuizen (ed). Flora of Southern Africa 5 Part 1, Fascicle 1:1-159. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.

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.

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.

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.

Mtshali, H. & von Staden, L. 2020. Aloe thompsoniae Groenew. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2020.1. Accessed on 2023/12/04

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Distribution map

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