Native African plant species have many uses across the continent. Similar to its people, Africa’s plant life is incredibly diverse. The effects and uses of these indigenous plants may vary among different clans on the continent.

Here are some common plants native to the African continent.

The Cape aloe

Also known as the aloe ferox, this versatile aloe is known for having “healing succulent powers”. Used for medicinal purposes in many parts of Southern Africa. The leaves of the Cape Aloe hold nourishing properties that heal many skin-related injuries. The aloe is harvested and processed in factories to extract the aloe gel. Aloe can be grown from seed but is usually propagated from cuttings.

The Cape Aloe succulent spring wildflowers in Western Cape, South Africa

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Kalahari cactus

Found in the deep Kalahari and Southern Namib sands. This spiny succulent has a wide tolerance of growing habitats. Growing in the dry stony slopes or flats of the Southern deserts. The plant has been known for many years as an appetite suppressant.

To plant the Kalahari cactus in your garden, you would have to contact your local Department of Nature Conservation. The cactus is mainly propagated from seed, as cutting is not an option.

A Kalahari cactus plant with red flowers in bloom on the gravel plains of the Namib Desert.

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The Encephalartos woodii

The plant commonly known as the Woods Cycad is a species of African cycad found in the forests of Eastern Africa. It derives its name from its thick, woody trunk, which can grow up to 6 meters. The tree is distinguished by its dark green leaves. It has an arching shape, giving it a dense umbrella-shaped crown of leaves.

Wood's cycad tree, one of the rarest plants in the world

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African violet plant

These lovely plants are best grown as houseplants. They are native to the tropical areas of Kenya and Tanzania in Eastern Africa. These plants have clumps of round, succulent-like dark green leaves and small purple flower petals.

African violets grow best in well-draining soil, in indirect light, and can flower all year round. They are one of the unique flowers endemic to the African continent.

african violet houseplant with blurred background

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There are many fascinating plant species all over the continent.


Different types of Aloe plants to add to your garden

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