Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Aloe vera
(true aloe)

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Datasheet

Aloe vera (true aloe)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 13 February 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Aloe vera
  • Preferred Common Name
  • true aloe
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Monocotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • Aloe vera is a hardy succulent plant that thrives in poor soils and requires little water to survive and spread. This species produces dense rosettes with creeping rhizomes that easily spread from basal offshoo...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Aloe vera (true aloe); flowering habit. Honokanaia, Kahoolawe, Hawaii, USA. March 2005.
TitleFlowering habit
CaptionAloe vera (true aloe); flowering habit. Honokanaia, Kahoolawe, Hawaii, USA. March 2005.
Copyright©Forest & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Aloe vera (true aloe); flowering habit. Honokanaia, Kahoolawe, Hawaii, USA. March 2005.
Flowering habitAloe vera (true aloe); flowering habit. Honokanaia, Kahoolawe, Hawaii, USA. March 2005.©Forest & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Aloe vera (true aloe); habit. South Trail Hakioawa, Kahoolawe, Hawaii, USAS. December 2015.
TitleHabit
CaptionAloe vera (true aloe); habit. South Trail Hakioawa, Kahoolawe, Hawaii, USAS. December 2015.
Copyright©Forest & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Aloe vera (true aloe); habit. South Trail Hakioawa, Kahoolawe, Hawaii, USAS. December 2015.
HabitAloe vera (true aloe); habit. South Trail Hakioawa, Kahoolawe, Hawaii, USAS. December 2015.©Forest & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Aloe vera (true aloe); habit, with old and new flower stems. South Trail Hakioawa, Kahoolawe, Hawaii, USA. December 2015.
TitleHabit
CaptionAloe vera (true aloe); habit, with old and new flower stems. South Trail Hakioawa, Kahoolawe, Hawaii, USA. December 2015.
Copyright©Forest & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Aloe vera (true aloe); habit, with old and new flower stems. South Trail Hakioawa, Kahoolawe, Hawaii, USA. December 2015.
HabitAloe vera (true aloe); habit, with old and new flower stems. South Trail Hakioawa, Kahoolawe, Hawaii, USA. December 2015.©Forest & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Aloe vera (true aloe); habit, showing leaves. Pukalani, Maui, Hawaii, USA. March 2007.
TitleLeaves
CaptionAloe vera (true aloe); habit, showing leaves. Pukalani, Maui, Hawaii, USA. March 2007.
Copyright©Forest & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Aloe vera (true aloe); habit, showing leaves. Pukalani, Maui, Hawaii, USA. March 2007.
LeavesAloe vera (true aloe); habit, showing leaves. Pukalani, Maui, Hawaii, USA. March 2007.©Forest & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Aloe vera (true aloe); flowering habit, showing large inflorescence. South Trail Hakioawa, Kahoolawe, Hawaii, USA. December 2015.
TitleInflorescence
CaptionAloe vera (true aloe); flowering habit, showing large inflorescence. South Trail Hakioawa, Kahoolawe, Hawaii, USA. December 2015.
Copyright©Forest & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Aloe vera (true aloe); flowering habit, showing large inflorescence. South Trail Hakioawa, Kahoolawe, Hawaii, USA. December 2015.
InflorescenceAloe vera (true aloe); flowering habit, showing large inflorescence. South Trail Hakioawa, Kahoolawe, Hawaii, USA. December 2015.©Forest & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Aloe vera (L.) Burm.f.

Preferred Common Name

  • true aloe

Other Scientific Names

  • Aloe barbadensis Mill.
  • Aloe chinensis Steud. ex Baker
  • Aloe elongata Murray
  • Aloe flava Pers.
  • Aloe indica Royle
  • Aloe lanzae Tod.
  • Aloe rubescens DC.
  • Aloe vulgaris Lam.

International Common Names

  • English: Barbados aloe; bitter aloe; burn aloe; Curaçao aloe; first aid plant; medicinal aloe; Mediterranean aloe; West Indian aloe
  • Spanish: sabila; sávila; zabila (Mexico)
  • French: aloès officinal; aloès vrai; aloès vulgaire
  • Chinese: lu hui
  • Portuguese: aloé-dos-barbados; babosa-medicinal; erva-babosa

Local Common Names

  • Bahamas: bitter aloes
  • Cuba: aloe
  • Germany: Alö, Echte
  • Greece: allas; aloi
  • Haiti: aloes des jardins; L’alois
  • India: cherukattazha ; gheekumari; kathalai; kattar vazha; khorpad
  • Jamaica: sempervivum
  • Lesser Antilles: sentebibu; sinkle bible
  • Malta: żabbara
  • Spain: acíbar; zabila; zabira

EPPO code

  • ALFVE (Aloe vera)

Summary of Invasiveness

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Aloe vera is a hardy succulent plant that thrives in poor soils and requires little water to survive and spread. This species produces dense rosettes with creeping rhizomes that easily spread from basal offshoots colonizing extensive areas and outcompeting and displacing other species including native vegetation. A. vera is widely cultivated and has been recurrently introduced in drylands, Mediterranean, tropical, and subtropical regions of the world. It has escaped from cultivation, but can also survive as a remnant in old farms and gardens. Currently it is listed as invasive in countries across Europe, the West Indies, Asia and America (see Distribution Table for details; Broome et al., 2007; Burg, 2012; DAISIE, 2017; Govaerts, 2017; PIER, 2017; PROTA, 2017; Randall, 2017).

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Monocotyledonae
  •                     Order: Liliales
  •                         Family: Aloaceae
  •                             Genus: Aloe
  •                                 Species: Aloe vera

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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Asphodelaceae is a family of 41 genera and 900 species within the order Asparagales. Until 2016, the name Xanthorrhoeaceae was used for this family in the APG III classification system. Currently, the family Asphodelaceae comprises three subfamilies: Asphodeloideae, Hemerocallidoideae and Xanthorrhoeoideae. The genus Aloe with approximately 400 species of succulents is the largest genus within Asphodeloideae (Akinyele and Odiyi, 2007; Stevens, 2012; Daru et al., 2013).

Most Aloe species have a rosette of large, thick, fleshy leaves and many species appear to be stemless, with the rosette growing directly at ground level; other varieties may have a branched or unbranched stem from which the fleshy leaves spring. Flowers are tubular, frequently yellow, orange, pink, or red, and are borne, densely clustered and pendant, at the apex of simple or branched, leafless stems. Some Aloe species native to South Africa are tree-like (arborescent) (Stevens, 2012; Daru et al., 2013).

The species epithet vera means ‘true’ or ‘genuine’. The species was first named by Linnaeus as Aloe perfoliata var. vera, and has a number of synonyms. Some of the common names for the species reflect its’ medicinal uses, for example ‘burn aloe’ and ‘first aid plant’.

Description

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Herbs succulent. Stems short, suckering freely to form dense clumps. Leaves sub-basal, slightly distichous in seedlings and new shoots, erect, pale green, sometimes with pale spots in very young plants, linear-lanceolate, 15-35(-50) × 4-5(-7) cm, margin sparsely spiny-dentate, apex 2- or 3-dentate-pointed. Inflorescence erect, 60-90 cm; peduncle to 2 cm thick; raceme 30-40 × 5-6 cm, sometimes with 1 or 2 ascending branches, numerous flowered; bracts whitish, broadly lanceolate, 10 × 5-6 mm, veins 5-7, apex acute. Flowers reflexed; pedicel 1/2 as long as bract. Perianth pale yellow mottled with red, slightly ventricose, 2.5(-3) cm, outer lobes free for 1.8 cm, slightly recurved at apex. Stamens exserted by 4-5 mm. Style conspicuously exserted (Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2017).

Plant Type

Top of page Broadleaved
Herbaceous
Perennial
Seed propagated
Succulent
Vegetatively propagated

Distribution

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The native distribution range of A. vera is uncertain. It is generally recognized that the origin is Arabia, Somalia or Sudan. A recently discovered stand of A. vera in Oman could well prove to be the only wild native population in the world. A Mediterranean origin is often mentioned but probably wrong: it is most likely from the southwest Arabian Peninsula (Govaerts, 2017). Currently, A. vera is widely distributed throughout the tropics and subtropics, mostly known as a cultivated or naturalized plant. Naturalized stands of this species can be found in the southern half of the Arabian Peninsula, through North Africa (Morocco, Mauritania, Egypt), as well as Sudan and neighbouring countries, along with the Canary, Cape Verde, and Madeira Islands. Additionally, it is widely cultivated in dry regions across the Americas, Asia and Australia (Govaerts, 2017; PROTA, 2017; USDA-ARS, 2017).

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes

Asia

BahrainPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2017
BangladeshPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2017
ChinaPresentIntroduced Invasive Weber et al., 2008
-YunnanPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2017Possibly naturalized in S Yunnan
Christmas Island (Indian Ocean)PresentIntroducedPIER, 2017
IndiaPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2017
-AssamPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2017
IsraelPresentPROTA, 2017
JordanPresentPROTA, 2017
NepalPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2017
OmanPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2017
PakistanPresentIntroducedFlora of Pakistan, 2018Naturalized
PalestinePresentIntroducedDanin, 2000
Saudi ArabiaPresentNativeGovaerts, 2017
SingaporePresentIntroducedChong et al., 2009Cultivated
Sri LankaPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2017
SyriaPresentPROTA, 2017
ThailandPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2017
TurkeyPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2017
YemenPresentNativeGovaerts, 2017

Africa

AlgeriaPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2017
Cape VerdePresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2017
EgyptPresentPROTA, 2017
EthiopiaPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2017
KenyaPresentIntroducedPROTA, 2017
MauritiusPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2017
MoroccoPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2017
NigeriaPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2017
RéunionPresentIntroducedPROTA, 2017
Saint HelenaPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2017
SenegalPresentIntroducedPROTA, 2017
SomaliaPresentPROTA, 2017Probably native
South AfricaPresentIntroducedPROTA, 2017
Spain
-Canary IslandsPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2017
SudanPresentPROTA, 2017Probably native
TanzaniaPresentIntroducedPROTA, 2017
TunisiaPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2017
UgandaPresentIntroducedPROTA, 2017

North America

BermudaPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2017
MexicoPresentIntroduced Invasive CONABIO, 2017
USAPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2017
-ArizonaPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2017
-FloridaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2017
-HawaiiPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2017
-TexasPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2017

Central America and Caribbean

Antigua and BarbudaPresentIntroducedBroome et al., 2007
ArubaPresentIntroduced Invasive Burg et al., 2012
BahamasPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
BarbadosPresentIntroducedBroome et al., 2007
BonairePresentIntroduced Invasive Burg et al., 2012
British Virgin IslandsPresentIntroduced Invasive Rojas-Sandoval and Acevedo-Rodríguez, 2015Anegada, Guana, Tortola, Virgin Gorda
Costa RicaPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2017
CubaPresentIntroduced Invasive Oviedo Prieto et al., 2012
CuraçaoPresentIntroduced Invasive Burg et al., 2012
DominicaPresentIntroducedBroome et al., 2007
Dominican RepublicPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
El SalvadorPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2017
GuadeloupePresentIntroducedBroome et al., 2007
HaitiPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
HondurasPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2017
JamaicaPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
MartiniquePresentIntroducedBroome et al., 2007
NicaraguaPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2017
Puerto RicoPresentIntroduced Invasive Rojas-Sandoval and Acevedo-Rodríguez, 2015
SabaPresentIntroduced Invasive Burg et al., 2012
Saint LuciaPresentIntroducedBroome et al., 2007
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesPresentIntroducedBroome et al., 2007
Sint EustatiusPresentIntroduced Invasive Burg et al., 2012
Sint MaartenPresentIntroducedBroome et al., 2007
Trinidad and TobagoPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2017
United States Virgin IslandsPresentIntroduced Invasive Rojas-Sandoval and Acevedo-Rodríguez, 2015

South America

BoliviaPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2017
ChilePresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2017Juan Fernandez Is.
EcuadorPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2017
-Galapagos IslandsPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2017
PeruPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2017
VenezuelaPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2017

Europe

CyprusPresentIntroduced Invasive DAISIE, 2017
FrancePresentIntroduced Invasive DAISIE, 2017
GreecePresentIntroduced Invasive DAISIE, 2017
ItalyPresentIntroduced Invasive DAISIE, 2017
-SardiniaPresentIntroduced Invasive DAISIE, 2017
-SicilyPresentIntroduced Invasive DAISIE, 2017
MaltaPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2017Naturalized
PortugalPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2017
-MadeiraPresentIntroduced Invasive DAISIE, 2017
SpainPresentIntroduced Invasive DAISIE, 2017
-Balearic IslandsPresentIntroduced Invasive DAISIE, 2017

Oceania

AustraliaPresentIntroducedRichardson et al., 2016Listed as a weed
Cook IslandsPresentIntroducedMcCormack, 2013Cultivated
Marshall IslandsPresentIntroducedPIER, 2017
Micronesia, Federated states ofIntroducedLorence and Flynn, 2010Kosrae
New CaledoniaPresentIntroducedMacKee, 1994

History of Introduction and Spread

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A. vera was already used as a drug by the Greeks as early as 400 B.C. and later by Arabian physicians. It has been used for its medicinal value (and therefore moved by humans) for several thousand years. Its applications have been recorded in ancient cultures of India, Egypt, Greece, Rome and China. The first known written reports on the nourishing juice of the A. vera plant reach as far back as 6,000 years ago in ancient Egypt, while its anti-inflammatory and pain soothing effect were documented in the “papyrus Eber” written around 1550 BC.

This species was brought to the New World by Christopher Columbus who was known to have A. vera plants growing in pots on his armada of ships. During the 16th century, Spanish Jesuit monks harvested A. vera and spread it to areas where it had not yet been cultivated (Farooqi and Sreeramu, 2001; Ahlawat and Khatkar, 2011; PROTA, 2017). 

Risk of Introduction

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The likelihood of new introductions of A. vera is very high. This species is a popular ornamental in homes, gardens and yards, and it is also extensively used as a medicinal plant throughout the world (Akinyele and Odiyi, 2007; USDA-ARS, 2017). A. vera is an essential ingredient in food, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals and according to Future Markets Insights the cultivation of this species is expected to expand worldwide (FMI, 2016).

Habitat

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A. vera is a popular ornamental in gardens, parks, yards, and grown in botanical gardens. It is grown in outdoors in warm temperate zones and subtropical and tropical areas. It can also be found growing in arid and semiarid habitats, Mediterranean shrublands, dry forests, urban bushlands, riparian areas, sand dunes and other sandy coastal habitats (Fern, 2014; Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2017; PIER, 2017; PROTA, 2017). 

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial
Terrestrial – ManagedCultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Cultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Cultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Natural
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Natural
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Natural
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Urban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Urban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Natural
Urban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural grasslands Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Natural grasslands Present, no further details Natural
Scrub / shrublands Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Scrub / shrublands Present, no further details Natural
Deserts Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Deserts Present, no further details Natural
Arid regions Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Arid regions Present, no further details Natural
Arid regions Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Littoral
Coastal areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Coastal areas Present, no further details Natural
Coastal areas Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Coastal dunes Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Coastal dunes Present, no further details Natural

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

The chromosome number reported for A. vera is 2n = 14 (Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2017).

Reproductive Biology

A. vera flowers are bisexual and often pollinated by birds (Sapre, 1975).

Physiology and Phenology

A. vera belongs to a large class of plants known as “xeroids” characterized for its ability to close its stomata completely to avoid loss of water. This adaptation allows plants to survive long and extreme drought periods (Akinyele and Odiyi, 2007).

Longevity

A. vera is a perennial, long-lived, succulent plant. It takes 4-5 years to mature and can live up to 25 years (Akinyele and Odiyi, 2007).

Environmental Requirements

A. vera grows best in full sunshine and requires little water for its establishment, growth and reproduction. It prefers areas with mean annual temperatures within the range 19-27°C, but can tolerate temperatures ranging from 10°C to 35°C. It does not tolerate temperatures below 0°C, experiencing slight damage at -3°C. It is adapted to areas with mean annual rainfall in the range 700 mm to 3000 mm. During the winter months in the subtropics, the plant becomes dormant and utilizes very little moisture. It grows best on well-drained sandy or loamy soils with pH in the range 6.5 - 7.5. A. vera prefers rich soils, but can tolerate poor, saline, and/or sodic soil (Akinyele and Odiyi, 2007; Fern, 2014; PROTA, 2017).

Climate

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ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
Am - Tropical monsoon climate Tolerated Tropical monsoon climate ( < 60mm precipitation driest month but > (100 - [total annual precipitation(mm}/25]))
As - Tropical savanna climate with dry summer Tolerated < 60mm precipitation driest month (in summer) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
Aw - Tropical wet and dry savanna climate Tolerated < 60mm precipitation driest month (in winter) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
BS - Steppe climate Preferred > 430mm and < 860mm annual precipitation
BW - Desert climate Preferred < 430mm annual precipitation
Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers
Cw - Warm temperate climate with dry winter Preferred Warm temperate climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry winters)
Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all year Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, wet all year

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
40 35

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Absolute minimum temperature (ºC) -3
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 19 27
Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC) 35
Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC) 10

Rainfall

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ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Mean annual rainfall7003000mm; lower/upper limits

Rainfall Regime

Top of page Bimodal
Uniform

Soil Tolerances

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Soil drainage

  • free

Soil reaction

  • neutral

Soil texture

  • light
  • medium

Special soil tolerances

  • saline
  • sodic

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Alternaria alternata Pathogen Whole plant not specific
Dickeya chrysanthemi Pathogen Whole plant not specific
Haematonectria haematococca Pathogen Whole plant not specific

Notes on Natural Enemies

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The species Alternaria alternata and Fusarium solani [Haematonectria haematococca] cause leaf spot disease on A. vera. Erwinia chrysanthemi [Dickeya chrysanthemi] causes leaf rot occasionally. A. vera has few pests as the tough outer skin provides excellent resistance (PROTA, 2017).

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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A. vera spreads by seeds and vegetatively by sucker (Akinyele and Odiyi, 2007). Vegetative propagation is usually preferred above propagation by seed, because of poor seedling emergence and faster initial growth of suckers (PROTA, 2017).

Intentional Introduction

A. vera has been extensively introduced and cultivated worldwide as an ornamental and for medicinal, food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical uses (Akinyele and Odiyi, 2007; Fern, 2014; PROTA, 2017; USDA-ARS, 2017). 

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Botanical gardens and zoosOrnamental Yes Yes PROTA, 2017
Crop productionWidely cultivated for agricultural and medicinal uses Yes Yes USDA-ARS, 2017
Escape from confinement or garden escape Yes Yes PROTA, 2017
Garden waste disposalOrnamental Yes Yes PROTA, 2017
HorticultureOrnamental Yes Yes PROTA, 2017
Industrial purposesFood, cosmetic, medicinal and pharmaceutical uses Yes Yes USDA-ARS, 2017
Medicinal useOne of the oldest known medicinal herbs Yes Yes PROTA, 2017
Ornamental purposesOrnamental Yes Yes PROTA, 2017

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Debris and waste associated with human activitiesFrom cultivation as an ornamental Yes Yes PROTA, 2017

Environmental Impact

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A. vera grows producing dense rosettes with creeping rhizomes that easily spread colonizing extensive areas and outcompeting and displacing native vegetation. A. vera can also have negative effects on invaded areas by altering soil accretion, reducing native biodiversity, monopolizing resources and altering successional patterns (Akinyele and Odiyi, 2007; Fern, 2014; PIER, 2017; PROTA, 2017; Randall, 2017).

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Abundant in its native range
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Is a habitat generalist
  • Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
  • Pioneering in disturbed areas
  • Highly mobile locally
  • Benefits from human association (i.e. it is a human commensal)
  • Long lived
  • Fast growing
  • Gregarious
  • Reproduces asexually
Impact outcomes
  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Modification of successional patterns
  • Monoculture formation
  • Reduced native biodiversity
  • Soil accretion
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Rapid growth
  • Rooting
  • Produces spines, thorns or burrs
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately

Uses

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A. vera is widely cultivated because of its commercial value. It is often grown as an ornamental in gardens and parks and for medicinal, food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical uses (Akinyele and Odiyi, 2007; Fern, 2014; PROTA, 2017; USDA-ARS, 2017).

Economic Value

A. vera extracts are gaining traction as an essential ingredient in food, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, with global volume reaching 60,720 tons in 2016, representing revenues worth US$1.6 billion and expected to expand to US$2.4 billion in 2021 (FMI, 2016).

Uses List

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Human food and beverage

  • Beverage base
  • Gum/mucilage

Materials

  • Cosmetics
  • Fibre

Medicinal, pharmaceutical

  • Source of medicine/pharmaceutical
  • Traditional/folklore

Ornamental

  • garden plant

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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The origins of A. vera are obscured by the long history of cultivation and the absence of “reliable” populations occurring in the wild. The species Aloe indica from N India, Nepal, and Thailand, is closely related, apparently differing only in having reddish flowers. Flower colour is variable in many species of Aloe and it is likely that this species is conspecific with A. vera. All other related taxa are native to NE tropical Africa and Arabia (Fern, 2014; Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2017; PROTA, 2017).

Prevention and Control

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There is no information available for the control and/or management of A. vera outside cultivation.

References

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Acevedo-Rodríguez P, Strong MT, 2012. Catalogue of the Seed Plants of the West Indies. Smithsonian Contributions to Botany, no. 98. Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press, Washington DC, 1192 pp. http://botany.si.edu/Antilles/WestIndies/catalog.htm

Ahlawat, K. S., Khatkar, B. S., 2011. Processing, food applications and safety of aloe vera products: a review. Journal of Food Science and Technology (Mysore), 48(5), 525-533. http://www.springerlink.com/content/u6t05347304v061w/ doi: 10.1007/s13197-011-0229-z

Akinyele, B. O., Odiyi, A. C., 2007. Comparative study of vegetative morphology and the existing taxonomic status of Aloe vera L. Journal of Plant Sciences, 2(5), 558-563. http://www.academicjournals.net/2/archive.php?id=2&theme=2&jid=jps

Broome R, Sabir K, Carrington S, 2007. Plants of the Eastern Caribbean Website. http://ecflora.cavehill.uwi.edu/index.html

Burg WJ van der, Freitas J de, Debrot AO, Lotz LAP, 2012. Naturalised and invasive alien plant species in the Caribbean Netherlands: status distribution, threats, priorities and recommendations. Report of a joint IMARES/CARMABI/PRI project. Wageningen, Netherland: Plant Research International, 82 pp. http://www.ciasnet.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/C185-11%20Invasive%20plants%20Dutch%20Caribbean.pdf

Burg WJ van der, Freitas J, Debrot AO, Lotz LAP, 2012. Naturalised and invasive alien plant species in the CaribbeanNetherlands: status, distribution, threats, priorities and recommendations. Plant Research International. PRI report 437. Wageningen, The Netherlands

Chong KY, Tan HTW, Corlett RT, 2009. A checklist of the total vascular plant flora of Singapore: native, naturalised and cultivated species. Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, National University of Singapore. 273 pp

CONABIO, 2017. Lista de Malezas de México. (Lists of Weeds of Mexico). http://www.conabio.gob.mx/malezasdemexico/2inicio/home-malezas-mexico.htm

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05/12/17 Original text by:

Julissa Rojas-Sandoval, Department of Botany-Smithsonian NMNH, Washington DC, USA

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