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Aloe plicatilis (fan aloe)

Fan aloe is an unusual, many-branched succulent with striking scarlet flowers and fan-like clusters of leaves.
Aloe plicatilis in the Puerto de la Cruz Botanical Gardens, Tenerife

Aloe plicatilis in the Puerto de la Cruz Botanical Gardens, Tenerife

Species information

Scientific name: 

Aloe plicatilis (L.) Mill.

Common name: 

fan aloe

Conservation status: 

Not considered threatened. Listed in CITES Appendix II.


Dry rocky slopes; amongst fynbos vegetation (shrubland or heathland vegetation in coastal and mountainous areas with winter rainfall and a Mediterranean climate).

Key Uses: 

Ornamental, medicinal uses in South Africa.

Known hazards: 

Leaves harmful if eaten by humans or animals.


Genus: Aloe

About this species

Aloe plicatilis was first given a Latin name (Aloe africana arborescens montana non spinosa folio longissimo, plicatili, flore rubro) in 1695 by Heinrich Bernhard Oldenland (1663-1722), the master gardener at the Dutch East India Company garden in Cape Town. In 1753, the Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus renamed it Aloe disticha var. plicatilis, and this was in turn replaced with its present name by Philip Miller, Curator of the Chelsea Physic Garden, in 1768. This striking plant has a long history of cultivation in Britain. Miller had been growing it at the Chelsea Physic Garden since 1731 and it was illustrated in Curtis's Botanical Magazine in 1799. It is normally grown as a conservatory plant in Britain, but is widely cultivated as a garden plant in Mediterranean areas. The clusters of leaves resemble an open fan, giving rise to the fan aloe’s common name.


Aloe flabelliformis, Rhipidodendrum plicatile


main info

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