Aloe pluridens Haw.

Common names: French Aloe (E), Fransaalwyn (A)
Family :
Aloaceae (Aloe Family)

Aloe pluridens

Aloe pluridens is an attractive plant which bears gracefully recurved leaves in large spiralled rosettes. It may be either single-stemmed or branched and occasionally bears numerous small plantlets on the otherwise smooth stems.

This is a tall aloe, occasionally reaching up to 5-6 m high. The leaves are bright green to yellowish-green and may be up to 70 cm in length. The leaf margin is armed with firm white teeth. The leaf sap is clear with a strong, rhubarb-like smell.

Aloe pluridensInflorescences are branched and have up to 4 racemes protruding above the leaves. The flowers are usually orange or pinkish-red, but a yellow form is also known. Up to three inflorescences may be borne from each rosette. It flowers from May to July.

Distribution and habitat
It occurs naturally in a broad coastal belt from the Eastern Cape to KwaZulu Natal. It is particularly common in the Port Elizabeth, Uitenhage and the Albany areas where it is normally associated with dense thicket vegetation where the rosettes may be seen above the surrounding bush. It is not threatened in its natural habitat.

Derivation of Name
pluridens = from "pluri-" (many) and "dens" (teeth) in reference to the many teeth on the leaf margins.

Growing Aloe pluridens

The French aloe is relatively easy to grow and may be propagated by seed, cuttings or truncheons.

It makes a spectacular garden subject. On the Highveld it should be planted in semi-shade and protected from severe frost. In its natural thicket environment, the surrounding bushes protect the stems from sun and cold.


  • Bornman, H. & Hardy, D. (1971) Aloes of the South African Veld. Voortrekker Pers : Johannesburg.
  • Jeppe, B. (1974) South African Aloes. 2nd ed. Purnell : Cape Town.
  • Geynolds, G.W. (1982) The Aloes of South Africa. A.A.Balkema : Cape Town.
  • Van Wyk, B. & Smith, G. (1996) Guide to the Aloes of South Africa. Briza Publications : Pretoria.

Witwatersrand National Botanical Garden
July 2001

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This page forms part of the South African National Biodiversity Institute's plant information website