Scientific Name
Aloe linearifolia A.Berger
Higher Classification
Common Names
Inkuphuyana (z)
National Status
Status and Criteria
Least Concern
Assessment Date
L. von Staden & H. Mtshali
Aloe linearifolia is estimated to have declined significantly due to habitat loss and degradation over the past 150 years, but this is a period exceeding three generations. Recent field observations indicate that it is still fairly common, occurring at 25-35 locations. It continues to decline due to ongoing habitat loss and degradation, but does not yet meet or nearly meet any of the criteria for a category of threat.
South African endemic
Provincial distribution
Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal
This species occurs in eastern South Africa, but its exact distribution range is uncertain. Glen and Hardy (2000) indicates that this species occurs in far northern KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and Swaziland. However, all other literature sources - Reynolds (1969), Van Wyk and Smith (1996, 2003), Scott-Shaw (1999) and Craib (2005) indicate that A. linearifolia is restricted to central and southern KwaZulu-Natal and the Pondoland region of the Eastern Cape. Rob Scott-Shaw (pers. comm.) reports that A. linearifolia has only been encountered in research plots from the Howick area southwards to the Umtamvuna Nature Reserve, with no records of this species from northern KwaZulu-Natal. Members of the Mpumalanga Plant Specialist Group have also never encountered this species in Mpumalanga (M. Lötter pers. comm.) Therefore, the distribution as indicated in the majority of sources is used in this assessment.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
KwaZulu-Natal Sandstone Sourveld, KwaZulu-Natal Hinterland Thornveld, Midlands Mistbelt Grassland, Mooi River Highland Grassland, Northern KwaZulu-Natal Moist Grassland, Moist Coast Hinterland Grassland, Dry Coast Hinterland Grassland, Southern KwaZulu-Natal Moist Grassland, Pondoland-Ugu Sandstone Coastal Sourveld, KwaZulu-Natal Coastal Belt Grassland
It occurs in short, open grasslands near the coast or hilly inland areas.
At least 60% of this species' grassland habitat has already been lost, mainly to commercial timber plantations, sugarcane cultivation and urban and coastal development. Loss continues mainly in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, around Durban and Pietermaritzburg and along the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast. A. linearifolia also appears to be very sensitive to heavy grazing: comparative plot studies in heavily grazed areas adjacent to protected grasslands indicate that this species disappears rapidly from overgrazed areas (C.R. Scott-Shaw pers. comm.). Craib (2005) reports the apparent loss of subpopulations known through historical records to heavy grazing in the Babanango District and Pondoland region in the Eastern Cape. There is also ongoing degradation of remaining grassland fragments due to spreading, unmanaged invasive plants that are outcompeting native species (Craib 2005).

Reynolds (1969) considered A. linearifolia a rare species, and according to Craib (2005), few large subpopulations of this species remains. Recent field observations recorded this species in at least 20 locations, but most of these are in small grassland fragments around Durban and Pietermaritzburg. It appears to be locally extinct in the Babanango district, where it was last recorded in 1960, as well as across most of its range in Pondoland, where the only recent observations are from protected areas. Although this species has lost more than 60% of its habitat, comparative land cover datasets (1990-2014) indicate that this loss was largely historical, having occurred more than three generations ago. Data on the establishment of sugarcane and timber plantations in Kwazulu-Natal indicate that major expansion happened between 1860 and 1970 (Richardson 1982, Lewis 1990, Burgess and Wingfield 2001). The population continues to decline due to ongoing, slow, but significant losses of individuals and subpopulations, mainly to development (Craib 2005).

Population trend
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Aloe linearifolia A.BergerNT A2c; B1ab(ii,iii,iv,v)Raimondo et al. (2009)
Aloe linearifolia A.BergerLower Risk - Least Concern Scott-Shaw (1999)
Aloe linearifolia A.BergerNot Threatened Hilton-Taylor (1996)

Burgess, T. and Wingfield, M.J. 2001. Exotic pine forestry in the Southern Hemisphere : a brief history of establishment and quarantine practices : review paper. Southern African Forestry Journal 192:79-84.

Craib, C. 2005. Grass Aloes in the South African Veld. Umdaus Press, Hatfield.

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.

Lewis, C.A. 1990. The South African sugar industry. The Geographical Journal 156(1):70-78.

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.

Richardson, P. 1982. The Natal sugar industry, 1849-1905: An interpretative essay. Journal of African History 23(4):515-527.

Scott-Shaw, C.R. 1999. Rare and threatened plants of KwaZulu-Natal and neighbouring regions. KwaZulu-Natal Nature Conservation Service, Pietermaritzburg.

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.

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.

von Staden, L. & Mtshali, H. 2019. Aloe linearifolia A.Berger. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2020.1. Accessed on 2022/01/19

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Distribution map

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