Aloe candelabrum

Scientific Name
Aloe candelabrum A.Berger
Higher Classification
National Status
Status and Criteria
Near Threatened B1ab(iii)
Assessment Date
H. Mtshali
Aloe candelabrum has a restricted distribution range (EOO 14 786 km²), but is still fairly common, in spite of more than 50% historical habitat loss. It continues to decline due to ongoing habitat loss and degradation, and therefore nearly meets the criteria threshold for Vulnerable under Criterion B.
South African endemic
Provincial distribution
Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal
Aloe candelabrum is endemic to east-central KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, from Pietermaritzburg southwards to the Umtamvuna River.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Eastern Valley Bushveld, Ngongoni Veld, Midlands Mistbelt Grassland, Pondoland-Ugu Sandstone Coastal Sourveld, KwaZulu-Natal Coastal Belt Grassland
It occurs in variable habitats, including rocky hill slopes, open and bushy areas.
About 50-56% of Aloe candelabrum's habitat is already irreversibly modified, mainly through loss to sugarcane cultivation, timber plantations and urban expansion around Pietermaritzburg and Durban. There is ongoing habitat loss and degradation, particularly due to the expansion of rural settlements and subsistence agriculture, as well as spreading, unmanaged alien invasive plants. This species is also utilised for construction materials, and decline of two subpopulations, one in southern KwaZulu-Natal and one Pondoland in the Eastern Cape, due to harvesting was recently recorded (K.W. Grieve, pers. comm. 2019).

In spite of extensive habitat loss across its restricted distribution range, a large number of recent (2010-2018) records indicate that Aloe candelabrum is still common, persisting at at least 20 locations. A continuing population decline is inferred from ongoing habitat loss and degradation. It is a long-lived species (generation length estimated 30-50 years), but the rate of recent habitat loss, recorded between 1990 and 2014, indicates that most habitat loss is historical, over a period longer than three generations, and therefore a population reduction of more than 30% over three generations cannot be inferred.

Population trend

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

Smith, G.F., Klopper, R.R., Crouch, N.R. and Figueiredo, E. 2016. Reinstatement of Aloe candelabrum A.Berger (Asphodalaceae: Alooideae), a tree-like aloe of KwaZulu-Natal province, South Africa. Bradleya 34:59-69.

Mtshali, H. 2019. Aloe candelabrum A.Berger. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2020.1. Accessed on 2023/12/03

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Distribution map

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