Zimbabwe Aloe

Scientific Name
Aloe excelsa A.Berger var. excelsa
Higher Classification
Common Names
Tshikhopha (v), Zimbabwe Aloe (e), Zimbabwe-aalwyn (a)
National Status
Status and Criteria
Near Threatened* B1ab(iii,v)+2ab(iii,v)
Assessment Date
H. Mtshali & L. von Staden
This taxon's range in South Africa is small, and its national extent of occurrence is estimated to be 76 km². It is known from fewer than 10 locations and is declining outside the Kruger National Park. The South African population is however continuous with Zimbabwe, where the species is reported to be common. Therefore the national status is adjusted following IUCN regional assessment guidelines.
Not endemic to South Africa
Provincial distribution
This taxon is restricted to the Mutale and Luvuvhu River valleys in the far northern corner of South Africa. It is widespread outside South Africa, where it occurs in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi and Zambia.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Limpopo Ridge Bushveld, Musina Mopane Bushveld, Makuleke Sandy Bushveld
It occurs in rocky outcrops and hillsides, often in the shade of thick bush in mopane or msase woodland.
It is threatened by habitat loss and degradation due to expanding rural settlements along the Mutale River in the north-eastern Venda region. It is used for traditional medicine (Grace et al. 2008), and the population appears to be over-exploited (T. van der Merwe pers. obs. 2019). Part of the South African population is protected in the Pafuri region of the Kruger National Park, where it is not threatened. Threats elsewhere in distribution range are not known.

This taxon is rare and localized within South Africa, but widespread and common outside the country. Recent (2019) field observations indicate that it is declining at at least one location in South Africa. There are few records of this species in South Africa, but it may be under-sampled, and the number of extant locations and subpopulations in South Africa is uncertain. More field surveys are needed.

Population trend
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Aloe excelsa A.Berger var. excelsa Least Concern Raimondo et al. (2009)

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.

Grace, O., Simmonds, M., Smith, G. and Van Wyk, A. 2008. Therapeutic uses of Aloe L. (Asphodelaceae) in southern Africa. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 119(3):604-614.

Kativu, S. 2001. Asphodelaceae. In: G.V. Pope (ed). Flora Zambesiaca 12 (Part 3):25-48. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

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.

Schmidt, E., Lotter, M. and McCleland, W. 2002. Trees and shrubs of Mpumalanga and Kruger National Park. Jacana, Johannesburg.

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.F. 2014. Guide to the Aloes of South Africa. (Third ed.). Briza Publications, Pretoria.

Mtshali, H. & von Staden, L. 2020. Aloe excelsa A.Berger var. excelsa. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2020.1. Accessed on 2023/12/01

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Distribution map

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