Aloe excelsa A. Berger
var. excelsa

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Aloe excelsa var. excelsa

Photo: Bart Wursten
Vumba Botanic Gardens

Aloe excelsa var. excelsa

Photo: Bart Wursten
Vumba Botanic Gardens

Aloe excelsa var. excelsa

Photo: Petra Ballings
Khami Ruins

Aloe excelsa var. excelsa

Photo: Bart Wursten
Path from entrance gate to Great Enclosure, Great Zimbabwe

Aloe excelsa var. excelsa

Photo: Bart Wursten
Amongst piles of stone and walls, near Great Enclosure, Great Zimbabwe

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Species details: Click on each item to see an explanation of that item (Note: opens a new window)

Common names: Chigiakia (Hlengwe) Chikohwa (Shona) Chinungu (Shona) Chinyangami (Tonga: Zimbabwe) Gava (Shona) Godzongo (Shona) Gweravana (Shona) Imangani (Ndebele) Inhlaba (Ndebele) Mhangani (Hlengwe) Munhanganhuru (Shona) Ruhwati (Shona) Zimbabwe tree aloe (English)
Frequency: Common
Status: Native
Single-stemmed small tree, occurring on granite outcrops, or on steep rocky slopes in Brachystegia woodland. Stem up to 6m high, normally covered in dried leaves except for the lowermost part. leaves in a compact rosette at the stem apex, spreading or becoming recurved, tp to 1 m long and c 15 cm wide at the base, deeply channeled, dull green, often tinged reddish, usually with scattered reddish-brown prickles on the lower surface; margin with sharp 3-angular reddish-brown teeth. Inflorescences 1-4, erect, up to 1m tall, up to 6-branched spreading upwards. Racemes erect up to 25 × 7 cm, very densely flowered, cylindric; bracts reflexed, rounded c. 6 × 4 mm, buff-coloured. Flowers 20-32 mm long, widening at the middle, cylindrical-ellipsoid, orange to deep crimson, rarely almost white.
Derivation of specific name: excelsa: from the Latin, excelsus, meaning tall or high.
Habitat: The species tolerates a wide variety of wooded grasslands and woodlands, often on rocky outcrops and hill sides, as long as it is free from severe frosts or fires.
Altitude range: (metres) 450 - 1560 m
Flowering time:Jul - Sep
Worldwide distribution: Botswana, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Limpopo, South Africa.
Zimbabwe distribution: N,W,C,E,S
Growth form(s): Tree.
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species
Images last updated: Friday 30 September 2005

Biegel, H.M. (1977). Check-list of ornamental plants used in Rhodesian parks and gardens. Rhodesia Agricultural Journal. Research Report No. 3. Page 21.

Carter, S. (2001). Aloaceae Flora Zambesiaca 12(3) Pages 91 - 92.

Carter, S., Lavranos, J.J., Newton, L.E. & Walker, C.C. (2011). Aloes, The Definitive Guide Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew ISBN 978 1 84246439 7 Page 687. (Includes a picture).

Chapano, C., Mugarisanwa, N.H. (2003). Plants of the Matobo District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 3.

Coates Palgrave K. (revised and updated by Meg Coates Palgrave) (2002). Trees of Southern Africa 3rd edition. Struik, South Africa Page 109.

Da Silva, M.C., Izidine, S. & Amude, A.B. (2004). A preliminary checklist of the vascular plants of Mozambique. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 30 Sabonet, Pretoria Page 120.

Drummond, R.B. (1975). A list of trees, shrubs and woody climbers indigenous or naturalised in Rhodesia. Kirkia 10(1) Page 232. As Aloe excelsa

Kimberley, M.J. (1973). Aloe Excelsa Excelsa 3 Pages 27 - 29. (Includes a picture).

Kimberley, M.J. (1977). Aloes in Mashonaland Excelsa 7 Pages 62 - 65. (Includes a picture).

Kimberley, M.J. (1980). Tree Aloes in Zimbabwe Excelsa 9 Pages 20 - 21. (Includes a picture).

Mapaura, A. & Timberlake, J. (eds) (2004). A checklist of Zimbabwean vascular plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 33 Sabonet, Pretoria and Harare Page 84.

Phiri, P.S.M. (2005). A Checklist of Zambian Vascular Plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 32 Page 107.

Plowes, D.C.H. (1972). Aloes in Manicaland Excelsa 2 Page 33. (Includes a picture).

Schmidt, E., Lötter, M. & McCleland, W. (2002). Trees and shrubs of Mpumalanga and Kruger National Park Jacana, Johannesburg, South Africa Pages 60 - 61. (Includes a picture).

Setshogo, M.P. (2005). Preliminary checklist of the plants of Botswana. Sabonet Report no. 37. Sabonet, Pretoria and Gaborone Page 115.

Van Wyk, B-E. & Smith, G. (1996). Guide to the Aloes of South Africa Briza Publications, Pretoria, South Africa Pages 50 - 51. (Includes a picture).

West, O. (1974). A Field Guide to the Aloes of Rhodesia. Longman, Salisbury Pages 89 - 92. (Includes a picture).


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Other sources of information about Aloe excelsa var. excelsa:

Our websites:

Flora of Botswana: Aloe excelsa var. excelsa
Flora of Mozambique: Aloe excelsa var. excelsa
Flora of Zambia: Aloe excelsa var. excelsa
Flora of Zimbabwe: cultivated Aloe excelsa var. excelsa

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Aloe excelsa
African Plant Database: Aloe excelsa
Biodiversity Explorer (Biodiversity of southern Africa): Aloe excelsa
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Aloe excelsa
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Aloe excelsa
ePIC (electronic Plant Information Center): Aloe excelsa
Flora Zambesiaca web site: Aloe excelsa
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Aloe excelsa
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
GRIN (Germplasm Resources Information Network): Aloe excelsa
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Aloe excelsa
Ispot Southern Africa: Aloe excelsa
JSTOR Plant Science: Aloe excelsa
Kew Herbarium catalogue: Aloe excelsa
Kew Monocotyledon checklist: Aloe excelsa
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Aloe excelsa
The Plant List (version 1.1): Aloe excelsa
Tropicos: Aloe excelsa

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2002-18

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2018). Flora of Zimbabwe: Species information: Aloe excelsa var. excelsa., retrieved 21 February 2018

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