Aloe calcairophila

OriginAmbatofinandrahana, Fianarantsoa Province, Madagascar
PublishedReynolds, Journal of South African Botany 27:5 (1961)

Aloe calcairophila is a cute miniature Aloe from an area south of Ambatofinandrahana in the Fianarantsoa Province in Madagascar. The region is part of the Central Highlands at an altitude of about 1400 m ​[1]​.

In its natural habitat, the plant grows only on Cipolin marble, found only in areas to the north and south of Ambatofinandrahana ​[2]​. Its name (limestone-loving) reflects its affinity for rocky substrates, where the plant can grow in crumbly and chalky sand and clay in crevices. To better simulate its natural environment, growing the plant in compost with limestone chips tend to be beneficial in cultivation ​[2]​.

Ambatofinandrahana is a region with dry, windy winters; summers are humid and serves as the growing season for many plants here, including Aloe calcairophila. The plant should be kept dry in the winter, and can enjoy some shade in the summer.

Although Reynolds describes this species as similar to Aloe descoingsii, it is distinct with its fan of leaves (i.e. they are distichous), which makes it suited for growing in rock crevices. It can offset and form dense clumps from the base to fill up space in rock fissures ​[2]​.

The leaves have a channel along the upper side in cultivation, but in the wild during the dry season the leaf margins fold together and the pale marginal teeth intermesh, reminiscent of the jaws of a crocodile. The plant has a rather stylised and architectural form.

Du Puy, David ​[2]​

In addition to being distichous, the leaves are grey-green in color. Their surfaces are somewhat rough, and the margins and teeth are cartilaginous and elastic ​[1]​.

Another rather distinct feature of the species is its white flowers, though newer flowers may also be red. Inflorescences are simple and slender.

Physical Characteristics

Inflorescence9 in. tall
Typical Diameter6 in.
Typical Height4 in.
Flowering SeasonLate summer, early fall
Growing SeasonSummer


  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]
    D. Du Puy, “Aloe calcairophila: Aloaceae,” Curtis’s Botanical Magazine, vol. 21, no. 4, pp. 238–241, 2004.