Indigenous to South Africa, the Quiver tree is one of the best known aloes that occur in South Africa and Namibia. Previously known as the Aloe dichotomum, this tree aloe us found in very arid areas with distribution from Namaqualand northwards to Namibia and eastwards to Upington and Kenhardt. The common name of Quiver tree is derived from the traditional use of hollowing out stems to carry arrows by the San people.
The tree can grow to a height of between 3.5 to 4.5 m and can be easily identified by the forked branches that cluster towards the top of the tree. The trunk of the tree has large, brown scales that are sharp to the touch and the branches have a smooth texture. The leaves are oblong and narrow in shape with a blue-green colour, borne on small, terminal rosettes. The leaf margins have fine, inconspicuous teeth. Bright yellow flowers develop on branched spikes from June to August and attract sugarbirds who feed on the nectar.
It is a very hardy tree, able to withstand drought conditions and cold. Light frost protection is needed when the tree is very young, but as it matures the tree will be able to survive extremely cold conditions of up to -4 degrees. The Quiver tree requires minimal watering, but should be planted where there is good drainage.
Aloidendron dichotomum is an attractive tree specimen that does well in large containers and can also be used as a statement piece in a rockery.