Aloe chortolirioides var. woolliana

Scientific Name
Aloe chortolirioides A.Berger var. woolliana (Pole-Evans) Glen & D.S.Hardy
Higher Classification
Aloe woolliana Pole-Evans
National Status
Status and Criteria
Least Concern
Assessment Date
J.E. Victor & L. von Staden
Although parts of the range is transformed and some subpopulations have probably been destroyed in the past according to Craib (2005), the habitat and ecology of this variant makes it somewhat more resilient to the effects of transformation, fragmentation and poor fire management. It is relatively widespread (EOO ± 21 000 km²), still quite common, and not at present declining or threatened with extinction.
South African endemic
Provincial distribution
Limpopo, Mpumalanga
Barberton Mountains to Wolkberg and westwards to Steenkampsberg.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Upper grassy edges of east and south-east facing cliffs, where plants grow in shallow soil pockets among rock sheets and large boulders.
Although large parts of the range of this species has been affected by commercial forestry plantations (Craib 2005), this variety is still much more widespread and common than the typical variety (M. Lotter and J.E. Burrows pers. comm.) Subpopulations are generally protected from transformation through their habitat, especially where they grow in shallow soils on ledges and very steep cliffs that are not suitable for plantations, and since this variety does not require fires to flower (Craib 2005) the impact of unsuitable fire management and fragmentation has not been as severe as in the typical variety. A. chortolirioides var woolliana is not declining at present nor threatened with extinction (M. Lotter and J.E. Burrows pers. comm.).
Population trend
There is much disagreement in the literature on the taxonomic status and distribution of the two variants of A. chortolirioides. This is perhaps due to their morphological similarity, which according to Reynolds (1969) may indicate that var. woolliana is merely a robust form of A. chortolirioides. Glen and Hardy (2000) indicates a similar widespread distribution across Mpumalanga, Limpopo and Swaziland for both variants, but according to Craib (2005) var. chortolirioides has a very restricted range in the mountains around Barberton and north-western Swaziland. Craib (2005) also points out that the main differences between the varieties are mainly in their ecology particularly in their response to fires, their habitat preferences, and growth habit and Craib chooses to uphold var. woolliana as a separate species, Aloe woolliana. Since Craib's work is based on extensive field studies, and Glen and Hardy (2000)'s distribution maps are based mainly on herbarium specimens, which do not have the ecological information as background, it was decided that for this and the A. chortolirioides var. chortolirioides assessments to follow the distribution ranges as indicated by Craib (2005).
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Aloe chortolirioides A.Berger var. woolliana (Pole-Evans) Glen & D.S.HardyLeast Concern Raimondo et al. (2009)
Aloe chortolirioides A.Berger var. woolliana (Pole-Evans) Glen & D.S.HardyNot Threatened Hilton-Taylor (1996)

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.

Victor, J.E. & von Staden, L. 2008. Aloe chortolirioides A.Berger var. woolliana (Pole-Evans) Glen & D.S.Hardy. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2017.1. Accessed on 2019/03/23

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Distribution map

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