Aloe wickensii

Scientific Name
Aloe wickensii Pole-Evans
Higher Classification
National Status
Status and Criteria
Near Threatened B1ab(iii,iv,v)
Assessment Date
H. Mtshali & L. von Staden
Aloe wickensii is a range-restricted species with an extent of occurrence (EOO) of 5285 km². It is locally common, but is declining due to habitat loss across most of its range. It still persists at more than 10 locations, and therefore nearly meets the threshold for Vulnerable under criterion B.
South African endemic
Provincial distribution
Limpopo, Mpumalanga
Due to taxonomic confusion, the distribution range of this species is uncertain. It was described from the plains south of the Strydpoort Mountains in Limpopo Province (Pole-Evans 1914), and according to Reynolds (1969), it occurs from Mokopane to Sekhukhuneland and the Abel Erasmus Pass north of Ohrigstad. This species is however difficult to distinguish from A. pienaarii and A. lutescens, with which it overlaps in range (Klopper et al. 2012).
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Sekhukhune Plains Bushveld, Ohrigstad Mountain Bushveld, Poung Dolomite Mountain Bushveld, Mamabolo Mountain Bushveld
It occurs on flats and gentle dolomite slopes in open savanna.
Subpopulations on plains are declining due to habitat loss to expanding informal settlements, particularly in the Sekhukhune area where there has been rapid population growth over the past 20 years. In the Steelpoort and Olifants River Valley north of Burgersfort it is threatened by habitat loss to mining. Subpopulations in montane areas are not threatened.

There are few recent records of this species, but this is most likely due to it being overlooked as a result of taxonomic confusion. Historical records indicate that it occurred at many locations within a small area, although some of these have been lost to expanding rural settlements. Historical data also indicate that it was locally common. Field surveys are needed to gain better data on the current status of the population, but it is suspected to be declining due to ongoing habitat loss across most of its range. As the species is common, it is however likely to still persist at more than 10 locations.

Population trend
Aloe pienaarii and Aloe wickensii, which were formerly considered synonyms of A. cryptopoda, were recently reinstated as a separate species (Grace et al. 2011). Further taxonomic study is needed to better understand how these species are separated, and to better define the distribution range and habitat requirements of each species (Klopper et al. 2012).

Grace, O.M., Klopper, R.R., Figueiredo, E. and Smith, G.F. 2011. The Aloe names book. Strelitzia 28. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria.

Klopper, R.R., Lane, S.S., Msekandiana-Mkwapatira, G. and Smith, G.F. 2012. The genus Aloe L. (Asphodelaceae: Alooideae) in Malawi. Bradleya 30:65-92.

Pole Evans, I.B. 1914. Descriptions of some new Aloes from the Transvaal. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Africa 5:25-35.

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

Mtshali, H. & von Staden, L. 2020. Aloe wickensii Pole-Evans. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2020.1. Accessed on 2020/08/10

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Distribution map

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