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Aloe polyphylla

Aloe polyphylla

The final photograph in the series on African plants is courtesy (once again) of Eric in SF@Flickr (and PlantWorld), posted via the BPotD Flickr Group Pool (original). Thank you!

Aloe polyphylla, or spiral aloe, is native to Lesotho, though it is possible that it may occur in the surrounding South Africa. I've been trying to track down the conservation status – words like endangered and threatened are used on various sites, but it doesn't have a place in the 2007 IUCN Red List. It is, however, an Appendix 1 species in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) , meaning it has the highest protection in terms of international trade. The cultivated plant in today's photograph will have been propagated from material in cultivation prior to the implementation of CITES in 1975.

Plantzafrica.com once again provides a detailed factsheet on the species, Aloe polyphylla. The US Botanical Garden also has brief article on spiral aloe, emphasizing the threats to the natural populations (including “unsustainable harvesting”).


This plant was grown from seed produced from plants in cultivation prior to 1975. Seedlings are readily available at garden centers and cactus/succulent shows in the Bay Area.

ps. Xanthorrhoeaceae?

Hmm, I suppose I repeated an error I had made in an earlier entry - it's often easier for me to find a family name for a genus from a previous BPotD entry than to search it again in the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group. Perhaps a mistake I made the original time when I looked at the APG (unless the family circumscriptions had changed and changed back, but that's extremely doubtful). Perhaps not, though - the two families are closely related, and Wikipedia makes brief mention of the issue on its page for Xanthorrhoeaceae. Whatever the case, I've moved to using Asphodelaceae as that is the current APG convention.

spiral aloe is just fine as a name
google took me to plantzarfrica.com
beautiful page the pictures are
really fine a beautful plant full
size and its flowers----- year 2002

it would seem the plant has been used
in muthi wtich craft -----

i surely do learn a lot from
from you two now its witch craft

Great shot Eric! Thanks for the infomative post Daniel!

Wow, what a design! Fantastic.

I wonder if it's a Fibonacci series.

Aloe polyphylla - min 10 degrees C/50 degrees F - A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants, Brickell, Cole, Zuk
Aloe, al-o-e; old Arabic name, possibly from Arabic alloch, referring to species used medicinally. Plant Names Simplified, Johnson and Smith

Yes, I believe it is a fibonacci sequence. The Botanic Gardens at Smith College had a wonderful exhibit about 5 years ago on fibonacci sequences in plants. Although the exhibit is no longer in place, they have movies and a virtual exhibit online. Fascinating stuff...

The eye of the cosmic chameleon.

Why doesnot A.polyphylla have a place in the IUCN red list? Irs a native in my country and listed as vulnerable am just curious why it does not have a place in the IUCN

please give me info on where ican buy seeds of Aloe polyphylla

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