Aloe arenicola

OriginKleinsee, Northern Cape, South Africa
PublishedReynolds, Journal of South African Botany 4:21 (1938)

Aloe arenicola is a unique, low creeping Aloe endemic to the Northern Cape province of South Africa, near the town of Kleinsee. Its natural distribution is along a narrow, 500 km strip along the western coast, from the Namibian border down to Lambert’s Bay ​[1]​. The plant grows on very arid, sandy soils near sea level ​[2]​. Its name, meaning sand-inhabiting, refers to its natural sandy habitat.

The plant is a creeping Aloe with low, decumbent stems that generally hug the ground. Mature plants can form dense clumps, making them shrub-like. Leaves are present only along the top 8″ of the stem ​[2]​, and roots can emerge far up the stem as it lays near the ground.

Aloe arenicola is very unique in appearance. Younger plants have very succulent, triangular-shaped leaves, with small teeth along the margins. They grow horizontally along the ground, and upon maturity, stems turn more decumbent and grow upwards. Both leaf surfaces have conspicuous white spots. Under stress of drought, leaves can turn reddish brown.

The plant flowers from winter to early spring. Its native habitat has winter rainfall, and it should be kept dry in the summer.

Physical Characteristics

Inflorescence20 in. tall
PerianthPeach, 1.5 in. long
StemCaulescent, decumbent, creeping
Typical Diameter3 – 4 ft.
Typical Height12 – 24 in.
Flowering SeasonWinter, spring
Growing SeasonWinter


  1. [1]
    S. Carter, J. J. Lavranos, L. E. Newton, and C. C. Walker, Aloes: The Definitive Guide. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, 2011.
  2. [2]
    B.-E. van Wyk and G. F. Smith, Guide to the Aloes of South Africa, 3rd ed. Pretoria: Briza Publications, 2014.