Aloe marlothii

Botanical name

Aloe marlothii

Other names

Bergaalwyn (Afrikaans); umHlaba (Zulu); Kgopha (Sotho); Aloe spectabilis




Tree aloe, 2 to 6 m in height, with a wide and imposing single rosette

Description of stem

Single-stemmed upright, dry leaves persist on older plants below the rosette, but not to ground level

Description of leaves

Broad, succulent leaves, up to 1,5 m long and 25 cm wide at the base, tapering; grey-green to yellow-green; covered with thorns on both surfaces and red-brown spines on the edges

Description of flowers

The inflorescence is multiply branched with up to 30 outwardly slanted or horizontal racemes (the inflorescence may sometimes reach an exceptional size); flowers often orange-red, varying from red to yellow, occasionally two-toned;·flowering in winter

Description of seed/fruit

Fruit a lily-seed resembling capsule

Description of roots



The density of spines on the leaf surfaces; leaf and flower colour

Propagation and cultivation

Propagates from seed without difficulty in hot summer rainfall conditions; choose well-drained, full sun sites and plant with ample compost; transplants easily, even in the case of very small plants; roots or stem base does not have to be retained upon transplanting, other than for assisting balancing the plant; withstands varying rainfall and a wide range of temperatures


Drought and moderate cold resistant


Garden plants; limited medicinal use occurs of leaf sap in treating ailments such as roundworm and tapeworm; grounded leaf-powder (or ash) has been reported to be useful as a snuff admixture; kudus have been found to browse the leaves in conditions of extreme drought in spite of the thorny defence; hybridises readily with various other aloes

Ecological rarity

Not threatened

Pests and diseases

Prone to infestation with white scale insects that can be treated by applying a mixture of methylated spirits and soap or aerosol insecticides


Aloe spectabilis from Kwazulu-Natal, with its racemes more erect, is lately regarded as part of A. marlothii


Grassland, bushveld, wooded and rocky hills, mountainous areas

Distribution (SA provinces)

Mpumalanga, Gauteng, North West, Limpopo, Kwazulu-Natal


South Africa, Swaziland, Mozambique, Zimbabwe

[Information from]

Seed capsules photographed by Johannes Vogel

A mature stand of Aloe marlothii in habitat, photo Jack Latti

Photo Johannes Vogel