Aloe brevifolia var. brevifolia

Assessor: Sarah Schumann

Sensitive in 2010
Reason for the sensitivity status
This species is thought to be horticulturally sought after and is being subjected to illegal collection. Several others of the genus are known to be targeted, exploited and illegally removed from the wild, causing population decline. Evidence shows that the Aloe genus is in high demand in international horticultural trade. A small and disjunct population makes this species highly vulnerable to population loss. Releasing data on this species can exacerbate threat and vulnerability.
This species is extremely rare in the wild and is known to be exploited, utilised or traded. The localities of remaining populations need to be protected to avoid any further exploitation, which is likely to drive it to extinction.
Exploitation extent
Significant - wild individuals of the species are known to be exploited, collected, traded or utilized in a targeted manner, and utilisation is widespread, affects the majority of wild populations and/or is causing rapid decline of the wild population.
Justification and references

This species is not SANBI Red List evaluated. This species is thought to be horticulturally sought after with wild harvesting occurring (Personal communication, S. Molteno, 5 August 2022). An internet survey indicated that this genus is very popular in trade, and that there is a very high demand. Plants of this genus and the brevifolia species were among those targeted and confiscated during a recent criminal prosecution of illegal plant collecting. There has been several recorded confiscations of the genus from illegal collection (Confiscation Lists (2018-2021) provided by Cape Nature, SANBI Karoo Desert Botanical Garden and Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden). Aloe species are widely utilised for traditional and medicinal purposes and are also popular in domestic and international horticulture trade (Grace, 2011). Many wild aloe species are threatened by over-exploitation for the succulent plant trade as well as over-utilisation for cosmetics and natural products which makes rare, endemic and utility taxa conservation priority (Grace, 2011). It is believed that the most sought after and so potentially vulnerable species among plant collectors, are rare endemics and difficult to grow species (Cousins & Witkowski, 2012).

Cousins, S.R. and Witkowski, E.T.F., 2012. African aloe ecology: a review. Journal of Arid Environments, 85, pp.1-17.

Grace, O.M., 2011. Current perspectives on the economic botany of the genus Aloe L.(Xanthorrhoeaceae). South African Journal of Botany, 77(4), pp.980-987.

Population vulnerability
Population is vulnerable: size is <= 2500 mature individuals OR the number of known subpopulations is <= 5 OR range is <= 100km2 OR species at risk of localised extinctions
Justification and references

This taxon has a restricted range (Zikishe, 2010). This taxon is known from 6 subpopulations (Personal communication, S. Molteno, 5 August 2022).

Zikishe, V. 2010. Aloe brevifolia Mill. var. brevifolia. PlantZAfrica. Available at:

Targeted demographics
Mature (breeding) individuals are killed, significantly weakened or are permanently removed from the wild, OR immature individuals are targeted and this significantly impacts mature (breeding) individuals.
Regeneration potential
This species has a slow population growth rate, or the growth rate varies depending on habitat, and there is a poor chance the wild populations will recover from exploitation OR a collector might feasibly harvest the entire extant population removing the chance of subsequent recruitment.
Justification and references

This taxon is range restricted and stemless (Zikishe, 2010). Range restriction makes this species vulnerable to population loss and may result in insufficient levels of recruitment if the species were to be over-collected and were to recover from exploitation. Stemless aloe species are known to be long-lived and slow growing, showing low levels of recruitment which may be sensitive to harvesting, causing population decline (Cousins & Witowski, 2012).

Cousins, S.R. and Witkowski, E.T.F., 2012. African aloe ecology: a review. Journal of Arid Environments85, pp.1-17.

Zikishe, V. 2010. Aloe brevifolia Mill. var. brevifolia. PlantZAfrica. Available at:

Reference file