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Aloe ciliaris is the most rapidly growing of all aloe species and makes a showy climber for a frost-free conservatory. Dr G.W. Reynolds, who was an authority on South African aloes, attributed the discovery of this species in 1813 to William John Burchell (1781-1863). A keen plantsman, and son of Matthew Burchell, who owned the Fulham Nursery near London. W.J. Burchell returned from South Africa to England with his collections in 1815, and A. ciliaris was described by the botanist Adrian Haworth in 1825.

Aloe ciliaris (climbing aloe)

[KSP]

Kew Species Profiles

General Description

Aloe ciliaris is the most rapidly growing of all aloe species and makes a showy climber for a frost-free conservatory. Dr G.W. Reynolds, who was an authority on South African aloes, attributed the discovery of this species in 1813 to William John Burchell (1781-1863). A keen plantsman, and son of Matthew Burchell, who owned the Fulham Nursery near London. W.J. Burchell returned from South Africa to England with his collections in 1815, and A. ciliaris was described by the botanist Adrian Haworth in 1825.

Climbing aloe has become a popular greenhouse plant in Britain and can be grown outside in milder gardens such as that at Tresco Abbey on the Isles of Scilly. Chromosome studies undertaken at Kew revealed three varieties of climbing aloe: A. ciliaris var. ciliaris, A. ciliaris var. redacta and A. ciliaris var. tidmarshii.

Species Profile
Geography and distribution

Aloe ciliaris is native to the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa, where it occurs from Uitenhage in the south to the Kei River mouth in the north-east, scrambling through thorny shrubs.

Description

A scrambling, succulent plant with long, slender stems that can reach up to about 10 m long. The dark green leaves, edged with white teeth, are arranged in open spirals along the stems. It can be distinguished from related species by the white teeth on the leaf bases sheathing the stems. The reddish-orange, tubular flowers, each up to about 25 mm long, are borne in short, loose clusters and pollinated by sunbirds. The fruit is an oblong capsule.

Uses

Climbing aloe is cultivated as an ornamental.

Cultivation

Aloe ciliaris will not tolerate frost and must therefore be grown indoors in frost-susceptible regions such as Britain. Climbing aloe should be provided with some kind of support, such as a pyramid or trellis. Propagation is by stem cuttings or from seeds.

This species at Kew

Aloe ciliaris , including the variety A. ciliaris var. tidmarshii , can be seen in the Princess of Wales Conservatory at Kew.

Alcohol-preserved, and pressed and dried specimens of Aloe ciliaris are held in Kew's Herbarium, where they are available to researchers, by appointment. The details of some of these, including one image, can be seen online in the Herbarium Catalogue.

Many of the botanical collections, drawings and manuscripts of William John Burchell, credited with the discovery of Aloe ciliaris , were presented to Kew by his sister, Anna Burchell.

Distribution
South Africa
Ecology
Dense, thorny thickets, often in dry river valleys.
Conservation
Not considered to be threatened.
Hazards

The leaves are harmful if eaten by humans or animals.

[KSP]
Use
Ornamental.

Native to:

Cape Provinces

Introduced into:

Algeria, Canary Is., France, Juan Fernández Is., Morocco, Norfolk Is.

English
Climbing aloe

Aloiampelos ciliaris (Haw.) Klopper & Gideon F.Sm. appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
May 2, 1985 Long, F.R. [701], South Africa Aloe ciliaris K000524351
May 2, 1985 Bayliss, R.D.A. [7088], South Africa Aloe ciliaris K000524353
Aloe ciliaris 2321.000
Brandham [58/510], South Africa Aloe ciliaris 40729.000
Csiba, L. [Chase 6005.B], South Africa Aloe ciliaris K000524352
Galpin, E.E. [22648], South Africa Aloe ciliaris K000524350

First published in Phytotaxa 76: 10 (2013)

Accepted by

  • Govaerts, R., Nic Lughadha, E., Black, N., Turner, R. & Paton, A. (2021). The World Checklist of Vascular Plants, a continuously updated resource for exploring global plant diversity. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41597-021-00997-6 Scientific Data 8: 215.

Literature

Kew Species Profiles

  • Brandham, P.E. & Carter, S. (1990). A revision of the Aloe tidmarshii / Aloe ciliaris complex in South Africa. Kew Bulletin 45(4): 637-645.
  • Court, D. (2000). Succulent Flora of Southern Africa, Revised Edition. Balkema, Cape Town.
  • Hunt, D.R. (1978). Aloe ciliaris. Curtis’s Bot. Mag. 182: tab. 763.
  • Reynolds, G.W. (1950). The Aloes of South Africa. Trustees of the Aloes of South Africa Book Fund, Johannesburg.
  • Van Wyk, B-E. & Smith, G.F. (1996). Guide to the Aloes of South Africa. Briza Publications, Pretoria.
  • World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (2010). The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Kew Backbone Distributions

  • Danton, P. & Perrier, C. (2004). Liste de la Flore vasculaire de l'île Robinson Crusoe archipel Juan Fernández, Chili Journal de Botanique Société de Botanique de France 24: 67-78.
  • Maire, R. (1958). Flore de l'Afrique du Nord 5: 1-307. Paul Lechevalier, Paris.
  • Orchard, A.E. (ed.) (1994). Oceanic Islands 1 Flora of Australia 49: 1-681. Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra.

Herbarium Catalogue Specimens
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 2021. 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 2021. 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