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Aloe ciliaris (climbing aloe)

Aloe ciliaris is a South African aloe with barely succulent leaves and one of the most vigorous of the climbing aloes.
Orange flower of climbing aloe

Aloe ciliaris (Photo: Martyn Rix)

Species information

Scientific name: 

Aloe ciliaris Haw.

Common name: 

climbing aloe

Conservation status: 

Not considered to be threatened.


Dense, thorny thickets, often in dry river valleys.

Key Uses: 


Known hazards: 

The leaves are harmful if eaten by humans or animals.


Genus: Aloe

About this species

Aloe ciliaris is the most rapidly growing of all aloe species and makes a showy climber for a frost-free conservatory. Dr G.W. Reynolds, who was an authority on South African aloes, attributed the discovery of this species in 1813 to William John Burchell (1781-1863). A keen plantsman, and son of Matthew Burchell, who owned the Fulham Nursery near London. W.J. Burchell returned from South Africa to England with his collections in 1815, and A. ciliaris was described by the botanist Adrian Haworth in 1825. 

Climbing aloe has become a popular greenhouse plant in Britain and can be grown outside in milder gardens such as that at Tresco Abbey on the Isles of Scilly. Chromosome studies undertaken at Kew revealed three varieties of climbing aloe: A. ciliaris var. ciliaris, A. ciliaris var. redacta and A. ciliaris var. tidmarshii.


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