Garden Aloes

Aloe reynoldsii

Also Known As: Mbashe aloe, Yellow Spineless Aloe

Category: Single Head Stemless Aloes

USDA Hardiness Zones: 9b - 11


Aloe reynoldsii is a rare aloe with smooth, spineless leaves and a short stem, only found on south-facing cliffs along the Mbashe River in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. Grows up to 2 feet tall with leaves that are a pale green color with white spots on both the upper and lower surfaces and leaf margins. This species superficially resembles Aloe striata.


Aloe reynoldsii is a low-growing succulent without a stem or with very short stems, with leaves gathered in a rosette. The plant grows up to 650 mm (2 feet) tall, usually occurring singly or in small groups of 3 to 20 plants in their habitat. It is usually covered of dry leaves, which don’t detach from the stem. Aloe reynoldsii is one of the stemless spotted leaf aloes that is very like Aloe striata except for the flower color and the subtle mottling of the leaves. The leaves are bluish-green, elongated, fleshy, with longitudinal lines and with numerous pale green spots and tiny whitish teeth on the margins. The leaves are relatively wide and blue-green with white longitudinal stripes and numerous H-shaped marks. Leaves can feel waxy in texture. Leaf margins are wavy, with a pink or white cartilaginous border.


This species blooms in mid winter to spring, with yellow to yellow-orange tubular flowers, slightly swollen at the base in a multi-branched, 2 foot tall inflorescence. The sparsely branched inflorescence, unlike most Aloes, is not a raceme (which is like a cluster of flowers), but instead a panicle. A panicle is an inflorescence that reminds one of an umbrella because of its shape. The flowers are almost all on the same layer which is curved like an umbrella. The flowers of Aloe reynoldsii are relatively small. Seed capsules are about 220 mm long and 100 mm in diameter.

Origin / History

Aloe reynoldsii has a very restricted natural distribution in a unique habitat on sheer south-facing shale cliffs along the Mbashe River around 1000 to 2000 feet in elevation near Idutywa in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. This area has hot summers and cooler, dry winters with rainfall occurring mainly in summer. Aloe reynoldsii was named in honor of the well-known Aloe specialist, G.W. Reynolds (1895–1967). Another common name is Yellow Spineless Aloe. Aloe reynoldsii is listed as Rare in the Red List of South African plants. It has a very restricted distribution and a very specialized habitat. Major threats are invasion of its habitat by Lantana camara and illegal collecting for horticulture, however, most of its population is inaccessible, because of its cliff-face habitat and it is not believed to be threatened. Often it grows in cracks between boulders along with other succulent plants like Crassula falcata, in frost-free areas with a high humidity factor.

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Care / Cultivation

Aloe reynoldsii is a plant that likes sun, but does not do well in blazing, hot, arid full sun. Plant is coastal full sun to part sun inland in a well-drained soil. It grows well in semi-shaded areas with morning sunlight and afternoon shade. A. reynoldsii prefers not to have wet roots in winter months so soil must drain well and any additional irrigation withheld during a typical wet California winter. Pay attention not to wet the leaves while watering, because they are also sensitive to rotting. During hot weather, water once a week and twice a month in normal summer temperatures. When mature plants are removed from the soil, or are being transplanted into bigger pots, leave the plant out of the soil for 2 to 3 days to dry and cut off the old roots to prevent rotting of the root system and promote growth of new roots.

Frost Tenderness

Hardy to around 27 F, so may need protection from moderate frost.

Use in the Garden

Aloe reynoldsii grows very well in the garden and is suitable for rockeries and water-wise gardens, where the winter is cool with no frost and also as a pot plant.

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Learn More

The information on this page about Aloe reynoldsii has been gathered and summarized from the sources below. Visit these pages to learn more.

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