Krapohl's Aloe

Scientific Name
Aloe krapohliana Marloth
Higher Classification
Aloe krapohliana Marloth var. dumoulinii Lavranos
Common Names
Krapohl's Aloe (e)
National Status
Status and Criteria
Least Concern
Assessment Date
H. Mtshali & L. von Staden
Aloe krapohliana is a widespread species in the arid north-western region of South Africa, with an Extent of Occurrence of 53 526 km². It has declined substantially in the past, but recent field observations indicate that it remains at at least 15 locations, but there are likely to be many more, as much of its range remains botanically poorly explored. It is declining along the West Coast and on the Knersvlakte due to habitat loss mining, and possibly also due to succulent collecting at accessible localities, but recent data on the size of the population and rate of decline is lacking. Based on currently available data, the species does not meet the thresholds for any of the five criteria (A-E) indicating high risk of extinction, and therefore it is assessed as Least Concern. Better field data on the size and structure of the population, as well as the rate of decline, may indicate that it is at risk of extinction, and more field surveys are needed.
South African endemic
Provincial distribution
Northern Cape, Western Cape
This species is endemic to the Richtersveld and Namaqualand region of South Africa, where it occurs from the lower Gariep Valley to Vanrhynsdorp and Calvinia.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Desert, Succulent Karoo
It occurs on sandy flats and rocky slopes in arid succulent shrubland, from sea level to 1500 m.
A. krapohliana is threatened as a result of overcollection, overgrazing and mining (Van Wyk and Smith 1996, 2003). Severely destructive open cast mining of minerals along the West Coast and on the Knersvlakte as well as diamond mining is affecting a large part of the range of this species. Mines continue to expand, with at least two recently recorded subpopulations found during biodiversity surveys for mining environmental impact assessments. There is also significant potential for mining expansion on the Knersvlakte within the next 30 years (Cole 2004, N.A. Helme, pers. comm. 2013). A. krapohliana is a very attractive dwarf aloe with exceptionally large and showy racemes (Van Wyk and Smith 1996, 2003). It is therefore not surprisingly very popular with collectors and gardening enthusiasts, but this species is difficult to grow, and does not survive well in cultivation outside its natural habitat (Van Wyk and Smith 2003). Large numbers of plants have been removed from the wild since the publication of popular books on Aloes such as Reynolds (1969), Jeppe (1969) and Van Wyk and Smith (1996).

According to Reynolds (1969), A. krapohliana used to be plentiful around Bitterfontein on the northern edge of the Knersvlakte, but by the 1980s, these had declined substantially. A field survey in 1985 failed to record any plants (Hilton-Taylor, unpublished notes), and the decline was ascribed to a combination of habitat loss to mining, overgrazing and illegal collection of wild plants. However, more recently (2000-2016) at least fifteen extant subpopulations of this species have been recorded. Subpopulations are small, with field observations of 5-40 plants in 1-50 ha patches (N.A. Helme pers. comm. 2018). A continuing population decline is inferred from ongoing habitat loss to mining as well as succulent collecting. As reports of population declines are largely anecdotal, the population reduction within three generations can not be estimated.

Population trend
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Aloe krapohliana MarlothData Deficient Raimondo et al. (2009)
Aloe krapohliana MarlothLower Risk - Near Threatened Victor (2002)
Aloe krapohliana MarlothVulnerable Hilton-Taylor (1996)

Cole, D.I. 2004. Impact of mining on the Knersvlakte flora - past, present and future. Aloe 41(2&3):40-44.

Glen, H.F. and Hardy, D.S. 2000. Aloaceae (First part): Aloe. In: G. Germishuizen (ed). Flora of Southern Africa 5 Part 1, Fascicle 1:1-159. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.

Hilton-Taylor, C. 1996. Red data list of southern African plants. Strelitzia 4. South African National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.

Jeppe, B. 1969. South African Aloes. Purnell & Sons, Cape Town.

Klopper, R.R. and Smith, G.F. 2007. The genus Aloe (Asphodelaceae: Alooideae) in Namaqualand, South Africa. Haseltonia 13:38-51.

Raimondo, D., von Staden, L., Foden, W., Victor, J.E., Helme, N.A., Turner, R.C., Kamundi, D.A. and Manyama, P.A. 2009. Red List of South African Plants. Strelitzia 25. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria.

Reynolds, G.W. 1969. The Aloes of South Africa. A.A. Balkema, Cape Town.

Smith, G.F., Steyn, E.M.A., Victor, J.E., Crouch, N.R., Golding, J.S. and Hilton-Taylor, C. 2000. Aloaceae: The conservation status of Aloe in South Africa: an updated synopsis. Bothalia 30(2):206-211.

Snijman, D.A. 2013. Plants of the Greater Cape Floristic Region 2: The extra Cape flora. Strelitzia 30. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria.

Van Wyk, B.-E. and Smith, G. 1996. Guide to the aloes of South Africa. Briza Publications, Pretoria.

Van Wyk, B.-E. and Smith, G. 2003. Guide to aloes of South Africa. (2nd ed.). Briza Publications, Pretoria.

Victor, J.E. 2002. South Africa. In: J.S. Golding (ed), Southern African plant Red Data Lists. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report 14 (pp. 93-120), SABONET, Pretoria.

Mtshali, H. & von Staden, L. 2018. Aloe krapohliana Marloth. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2020.1. Accessed on 2022/08/10

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Distribution map

© N.A. Helme

© N.A. Helme

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