1. Family: Asphodelaceae Juss.
    1. Genus: Aloidendron (A.Berger) Klopper & Gideon F.Sm.
      1. Aloidendron dichotomum (Masson) Klopper & Gideon F.Sm.

        Aloidendron dichotoma, previously known as Aloe dichotoma, is named for its distinctive forked branching pattern (from the Greek dikhotomia, meaning 'a cutting in two').

    [KSP]

    Kew Species Profiles

    General Description

    Aloidendron dichotoma, previously known as Aloe dichotoma, is named for its distinctive forked branching pattern (from the Greek dikhotomia, meaning 'a cutting in two').

    Species Profile
    Geography and distribution

    This species occurs in South Africa and Namibia.

    Description

     

    Aloe dichotoma is a tree aloe which grows up to 9 m tall. The trunk is stout with pale, flaking bark and a dense, rounded crown. The greyish leaves are succulent, about 30 cm long and narrow, with small teeth on the margins. The leaves are borne in rosettes. The flowers are bright yellow, tubular and about 3 cm long with orange stamens protruding from the mouth. The flowers are borne in racemes on a branched panicle about 30 cm tall.

    Threats and conservation

    Aloe dichotoma is threatened by the effects of climate change. Researchers in South Africa have shown that its distribution has shrunk during the last century and it has not yet been found in areas expected to become suitable with the changing climate.

    Uses

    The English common name for Aloe dichotoma - the quiver tree - refers to the San people's use of the hollowed branches to make quivers to hold their hunting arrows. The roots are used in traditional medicine for asthma and tuberculosis. The plant has been tested for bioactivity against the malaria parasite ( Plasmodium falciparum ) and inflammatory responses.

    Aloe dichotoma is also cultivated as an ornamental.

    Cultivation

    Aloe dichotoma is a relatively easy species to grow, but is slightly more difficult to propagate. A well-drained gritty compost should be used. At Kew this species is grown in mixed glasshouses with a minimum temperature of 10 °C, although this species could tolerate a temperature slightly lower than this. Aloe dichotoma can be grown outside in a pot for summer. It is best to soak the compost in the growing season and allow it to dry out fully between waterings. It should be watered more lightly in winter.

    The easiest way to grow this species is from seed, although taking truncheon cuttings could be tried. At Kew, the base of the cuttings is sealed with sealing wax to keep moisture in the cutting for as long as it takes for the truncheon to push out roots in a slightly damp medium. Seramis (clay granules) is used as the medium.

    This species at Kew

    Aloe dichotoma is grown in the behind-the-scenes Tropical Nursery at Kew. A display of other Aloe species can be found in the Princess of Wales Conservatory.

    South Africa Landscape - Kew at the British Museum

    Between April and October 2010, Kew and the British Museum brought a small corner of South Africa to the heart of London. The South Africa Landscape celebrated a shared vision to strengthen cultural understanding and support biodiversity conservation across the world.

    Aloe dichotoma (quiver tree) was one of the star plants featured in the Landscape.

    Distribution
    Namibia, South Africa
    Ecology
    Very dry, rocky environments.
    Conservation
    Rated by the IUCN as Vulnerable. Listed on CITES Appendix II.
    Hazards

    None known.

    [KSP]
    Use
    Medicinal, ornamental.

    Images

    Distribution

    Native to:

    Cape Provinces, Namibia

    Common Names

    English
    Quiver tree

    Aloidendron dichotomum (Masson) Klopper & Gideon F.Sm. appears in other Kew resources:

    First published in Phytotaxa 76: 9 (2013)

    Literature

    Kew Species Profiles
    • Foden, W. et al. (2007). A changing climate is eroding the geographical range of the Namib Desert tree Aloe through population declines and dispersal lags. Diversity and Distributions. 13: 645-653.
    • Lindsey, K.L., Jager, A.K., Viljoen, A.M. (2002). Cyclooxygenase inhibitory activity of Aloe species. South African Journal of Botany. 68: 47-50.
    • Van Zyl, R.L., Viljoen, A.M. (2002). In vitro activity of Aloe extracts against Plasmodium falciparum. South African Journal of Botany. 68: 106-110.

    • Van Den Eynden, V., Vernemmen, P., Van Damme, P. (1992). The Ethnobotany of the Topnaar. Universiteit Gent, Gent.
    • Reynolds, G.W. (1950). The Aloes of South Africa. Aloes of the World Book Fund, Johannesburg.

    Sources

    Art and Illustrations in Digifolia
    Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

    Kew Backbone Distributions
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2019. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
    © Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

    Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2019. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
    © Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

    Kew Species Profiles
    Kew Species Profiles
    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0