Scientific Name
Aloe longistyla Baker
Higher Classification
Common Names
Karoo Aloe (e), Karoo-aalwyn (a), Ramenas (a)
National Status
Status and Criteria
Least Concern
Assessment Date
L. von Staden
Aloe longistyla is a widespread species with an Extent of Occurrence of 79 727 km², and still exists at at least 13 locations, but possibly many more in botanically poorly explored areas, such as the southern Great Karoo. It has declined at many well-known and accessible localities due to illegal succulent collecting, as well as habitat degradation due to overgrazing. Hilton-Taylor (1996) classified this species as Vulnerable, and most experts feel that it is likely to be threatened. However, data are insufficient to assess this species against criteria A or C, and it does not meet or nearly meet the thresholds for criteria B and D. More field surveys and population monitoring is needed to better understand this species' risk of extinction. Currently available data suggest that it is declining, but not yet in danger of extinction.
South African endemic
Provincial distribution
Eastern Cape, Western Cape
This species is widespread across the Little Karoo and southern Great Karoo, South Africa, where it occurs from Matjiesfontein and Calitzdorp eastwards to Grahamstown and northwards to Graaff-Reinet, Cradock and Middelburg.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Albany Thicket, Nama Karoo, Succulent Karoo
It occurs on gentle slopes and on flat or stony ground in karroid shrubland and arid thicket. Plants are usually scattered and grow under 'nurse' shrubs, particularly Pteronia and Pentzia species.
Illegal collecting and habitat degradation due to overgrazing are the main threats to this species. Vlok (2006), in a survey of the vegetation of the Little Karoo, records that 62% of the vegetation types in which A. longistyla occurs are severely grazed. P.V. Bruyns (pers. comm.) reports that overgrazing of cover shrubs is a concern as this species seems to be vulnerable to direct exposure to sun, especially during the seedling stage and he believes that some subpopulations are certainly endangered. According to A.L. Schutte-Vlok (pers. comm.), ostrich farming is severely degrading the habitat of A. longistyla in the Little Karoo and parts of the Eastern Cape. The Little Karoo, however, is only a small subsection of the wide distribution range of this species. No data on extent of land degradation due to overgrazing elsewhere in the range is available. According to national land cover data, only about 6% of the range of A. longistyla is degraded, however, land degradation is generally severely underestimated by land cover data derived from remote sensing, and only severe erosion is generally recorded. Illegal collecting of this attractive dwarf aloe also apparently has led to extensive declines in some subpopulations (A.L. Schutte-Vlok pers. comm.) In a re-survey of a transect recorded by the late R.A. Dyer in 1929, no individuals of this species could be found. It is suspected that the entire subpopulation was cleared out by succulent collectors (A. Palmer pers. comm.). Near Beaufort West subpopulations of A. longistyla are directly threatened by a proposed uranium mine, this species was recorded at the site during an environmental impact survey (A.L. Schutte-Vlok pers. comm.).

Aloe longistyla is known historically from a large number of records scattered over a wide area. There are reports of this species becoming rarer due to over-collecting and habitat degradation, but population reduction is not quantified, and experts disagree on the severity of decline. B. Bayer (pers. comm.) feels that this species is still fairly common, whereas P.V. Bruyns (pers. comm.) reports that it appears to be becoming uncommon. Impressions of decline due to over-collecting may be biased by observations from well-known and accessible localities, such as along roads. It is likely that in the extensive and very sparsely populated range of this species there are still a number of unknown healthy subpopulations in remote and inaccessible areas, but better field surveys are needed to confirm this. The species has been recently recorded at 13 locations, and at three of these, field observations indicate that subpopulations are small, consisting of fewer than 10 mature individuals. As threats to this species persist, a continuing decline is inferred.

Population trend
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Aloe longistyla BakerData Deficient Raimondo et al. (2009)
Aloe longistyla BakerVU A1acdVictor (2002)
Aloe longistyla BakerVulnerable Hilton-Taylor (1996)

Goldblatt, P. and Manning, J.C. 2000. Cape Plants: A conspectus of the Cape Flora of South Africa. Strelitzia 9. National Botanical Institute, Cape Town.

Hardy, D.S. 1982. Cover story: Aloe longistyla Bak. Aloe 19(2):35.

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

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.

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.

Victor, J.E. and Dold, A.P. 2003. Threatened plants of the Albany Centre of Floristic Endemism, South Africa. South African Journal of Science 99:437-446.

Vlok, J. and Schutte-Vlok, A.L. 2010. Plants of the Klein Karoo. Umdaus Press, Hatfield.

von Staden, L. 2019. Aloe longistyla Baker. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2020.1. Accessed on 2023/12/03

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Distribution map

© J.H. Vlok/A.L. Schutte-Vlok

© J.H. Vlok/A.L. Schutte-Vlok

© J.H. Vlok/A.L. Schutte-Vlok

© L. von Staden

© L. von Staden

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