Choose your country and language:
IIf you’re interested in South African flora, the giant quiver tree (Aloe pillansii) is one to tick off your list. Critically endangered, it has something approaching cult status. The San people once used the tubular bark of the giant quiver tree to make quivers for their arrows.
Numbers have diminished steadily, in part because of goats and plant collectors, but also because climatic conditions have affected seedling growth.
You’ll spot the giant quiver tree in barren, rugged areas. Look out for its golden, fissured bark; forked branches; and dense rosulate leaves. The tree’s bright yellow flowers produce nectar harvested by ants and busy sugarbirds.
Southernmost specimens can be found on a rocky hill called Cornell’s Kop in Namaqualand. (Fred Cornell was a diamond prospector who had no success finding shiny stones but managed to have a splendid time in vain pursuit of them.) Ringed around Cornell’s Kop are a mini forest of giant quiver trees – a rare and special sight.
The giant quiver tree can also be seen in the |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park, where you can set up camp or stay in a self-catering chalet.
TTravel tips & planning info
Who to contact
South African National Biodiversity Institute
+27 (0)12 843 5000
Things to do
Go on a guided game drive or a scenic hike.
What to pack
Pack a camera and sun protection – this tree grows in areas known for extreme heat.