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Encyclopedia of Succulents

  Alöe zebrina CACTUSPEDIA       


Aloe zebrina is a small maculated aloe. Both surfaces of the leaves has irregular white spots in rows. A peculiar characteristic (not a defect!) of this plant is that the the tips of the leaves dry out naturally in summer and during time of drought forming an attractive curl, so this should not be a cause for concern in cultivation.

Description: Aloe zebrina is a small to med sized maculated/striped aloe that form small groups from offsets at the base of plants of varying size. It can grow up to up to 160 cm tall and 200 cm in diameter It looks a bit like many other striped to spotted aloes particularly to Aloe saponaria but with slender more elongated leaves. Due to its wide distribution it is a very variable species and diffrences exist between populations.
Rosettes: The main rosette gets up to  40 cm tall and just as wide.
Stem: Plants are usually stemless or with a short stem up to 30 cm long.
Leaves: 15–25, densely clustered into a rosette, without petiole, 15-35 cm long, 6–7(-10) cm widetoward the base, lance-shaped, fleshy, upper surface rather flat, dull dark green to powdery-glaucous with often purplish hues in full sun, that bear large oblong whitish spots more or less arranged in a series of irregular transverse bands, lower surface convex, very powdery-glaucous with thick long brownish, ,horny, deltoid, thorns (6–7 mm long, 10–16 mm Apart) on a lighter green edge. When drought-stricken, the leaf tips tend to dry back and become somewhat twisted. In some forms the white blotches become more zebra-like streaks. The leaf sap is yellowish drying purple.
Flowers: Fairly inconspicuous, bisexual dull red/pink striped. Inflorescence 0.75–2 m tall with stalk copiously branched above the middle, the branches terminating in lax racemes 30–40 cm long, bracts linear-lanceolate, approx 1 cm long. Pedicel 6–7 mm long; perianth tubular, 3–3.5 cm long, 6-lobed, dull red, much inflated around the ovary, 3 outer lobes acute, many-veined, 3 inner lobes more obtuse and wider; stamens 6, included; ovary superior, 6-grooved, 3-celled, style filiform, stigma headlike.
Blooming season: Mainly from February to May, but also June to August.
Fruit: The fruit is a many-seeded capsule, dehiscing loculicidally.
Seeds: ± 7 mm long, broadly winged, dark coloured, punctate.


A transversal leaf section (showing the transparent tissues)

The leaf margins are armed with prominent dark brown teeth.

Someone don't regard Aloe zebrina a good garden subject for its usually dried and twisted leaves apex and indicate it as a hardly attractive species, while other love this wild and apparently suffered appearance.

Shadow with ample water availability.

Full sun with withered leaves tips.

Family: Asphodelaceae

Scientific name:  Aloe zebrina Baker
In: Trans. Linn. Soc., ser. 2, Bot. 1: 264 (1878).

Origin:  Ranges into Southern Afric,Namibia , Angola, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambiqu and may be present also in other parts of tropical Africa.

Habitat: Grow singly or may form extensive colonies in many different habitats comprising dry thickets, grasslands, marshy meadows on river banks , open woodlands, rocky outcrops or on almost bare ground. Altitude range 200–1600 m.

Conservation status: Listed in CITES appendix 2.

Common Names include:  Zebra Leaf Aloe and Tiger Aloe


  • Aloe transvaalensis var. stenacantsee
  • Aloe platyphylla
  • Aloe lugardiana
  • Aloe bamangwatensis
  • Aloe transvaalensis
  • Aloe laxissima
  • Aloe ammophila
  • Aloe angustifolia

It is very hardy when grown in full sun with the minimum water. When dry it can stand frost.


Aloe zebrina is easy to grow and adaptable, it suckers freely and can form dense groups. It can be grown in large containers. Always use a good quality, loamy sandy soil with plenty of drainage with chips at the bottom of containers. It tolerates weekly watering in the summer; once a month, or not at all in the colder months of December and January. Can withstand long periods of drought, but they will thrive and flower more profusely if watered in the correct season. Incorrect watering, poor drainage or too much shade can lead to attack by pests and diseases.  It need full sun to partial shade, but plants grown in partial shade usually look healthier and more succulent. It is however very hardy when grown in full sun with the minimum water. This aloe is very tolerant of drought, although the tips of the leaves may wither and curl during hot, dry periods. Supplemental watering will help keeping the leaves plump and juicy.
Hardiness:  When dry it can stand light frost but it is damaged in hard freezes, but recovers quickly. The leaf tips get damaged below -2°C.
Maintenance: Removal of old flower stalks; Divide the crowded clumps periodically. During the winter months, the plants should be grown cool to initiate flower development (about 5-10°C ) It grows much better outdoors in spring and summer.
By division of offshoots that develop around the outside of the main rosette in spring,  thr cuttings must be dried out for at least 1 week before planting in river sand. It can also be propagated or by seed planted in autumn, in trays of coarse river sand. Fresh seeds germinate quickly at 18°C.


  • Gardening:  In mild climates it can be cultivated outdoors for use in landscaping, it can be grown in large, rocky, well-drained soil in gardens in drier areas. Aloe zebrina  adapts well to a variety of soils and climates, but will grow best in regions with a climate close to that of its native deserts not too cold, and not too wet.
    It makes an excellent ground cover, grows best in a sunny position and makes a long lasting cut flower. They grow slowly, but not agonisingly so being able to increase their witdth by 10- 20 cm per year under favourable conditions.

Photo of conspecific taxa, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to theAloe zebrina  complex

Photo gallery: Alphabetical listing of Cactus and Succulent pictures published in this site.


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This old page has been moved! Click the link next on the right to enter the new Enciclopedia of Succulents. We hope you find this new site informative and useful.

Encyclopedia of Succulents