Aloe plicatilis

Botanical name

Aloe plicatilis

Other names

Fan aloe; waaieraalwyn (Afrikaans)




A multistemmed, large or tree aloe with numerous branches, reaching over 4 m in height; the branching is dichotomous, i.e. into two equal new stems on every occasion

Description of stem

Short, grey, smooth, but become rough, darker and thick in mature plants, dry leaves do not remain on the stem

Description of leaves

Grey-green or blue-green flat, strap-like, about 30 cm in length, 4 cm wide, with a waxy surface, arranged in an erect fan shape; margins smooth or sometimes with very small teeth along the edges of the upper third of the leaf

Description of flowers

A single, cylindric to conical raceme of red flowers per fan of leaves during late winter and spring; fleshy with yellow tepal ends

Desciption of seed/fruit


Description of roots




Propagation and cultivation

Grown from seed or truncheons; prefers cool, damp conditions in acid soil with mulching; watered in winter given where it comes from, good drainage; slow-growing; gardeners growing it in hot and otherwise adverse conditions find that the leaf apices dry out and turn black


Not resilient, i.e. when deviating from the natural habitat of winter rainfall mountain regions


Popular garden or container plant

Ecological rarity

Small and shrinking natural habitat in Franschhoek to Elandskloof region; popularity among gardeners

Pests and diseases



Heinrich Bernhard Oldenland who was the master gardener and superintendent at the Dutch East India Company Gardens in Cape Town around the end of the 17th century first named this plant: Aloe africana arborescens montana non spinosa folio longissimo, plicatili, flore rubro; fortunately this name did not persist after Linnaeus came on the scene around 1750! (Info from the site of the Cactus and Succulent Society of America)


Mountainous fynbos areas on steep slopes in sandy, acid, well-drained soil; high winter rainfall

Distribution (SA provinces)

Western Cape


South Africa