Aloe Vera Scientific Name,
Taxonomy and Common Names

Aloe Vera Botanical Drawing

The correct scientific name for Aloe Vera is:  Aloe vera (L.) Burm. f.

Until 2009 when it was re-classified by the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (the APG III system), Aloe vera was a member of the Lily family (Liliaceae), and most authors still refer to it as such. 

It is now part of a family called Xanthorrhoeaceae which contains such diverse plants as the Australian Grass Tree (or Black Boy) and Red Hot Pokers. There are many very different species within the family, but their common characteristics include the presence of medicinal anthraquinones and an inflorescence (flower) which emerges on a leafless stalk from the centre of a basal rosette. 

The whole taxonomy of the plant, according to ITIS - the Interagency Taxonomic Information System is as follows:

Aloe Vera Taxonomy 2009

How do we write Aloe vera’s scientific name?

Genus names are always written with a capital letter, and the species with a lower case letter as above.  But as the term Aloe Vera is also the common name for the plant and it’s also often used to describe the substances obtained to use as ingredients in cosmetics and such, it is often seen with capitals for both words. 

Variations or Synonyms

Aloe vera (L.) Burm. f.  is also known botanically as: Aloe barbadensis, Aloe vulgaris Lam. and Aloe perfoliata var. vera L.

The L. stands for Linnaeus otherwise known as the 'Father of Botany'.  His real name was Carl von Linne, but he preferred a Latinised version of his name.  He was the first to start the scientific classification and Latin naming of the plant kingdom which he published in 1753 in his 'Species Plantarum'. His method of giving each species a two word name, one for the Genus and one for the species is called binomial nomenclature.

Common Names for Aloe Vera

But when we get onto the common names for this amazing plant, then there are loads (or as we say here in Australia - heaps!). Perhaps it's because it has been such a popular plant since ancient times as a medicine and a beauty preparation. Even Cleopatra was said to have used Aloe Vera gel for her legendary skin. 

So here are a few of the names we have found:

Common Names:

aloe vera, aloe, burn plant, lily of the desert, elephant’s gall, miracle plant, Barbados aloe, coastal aloe, common aloe, flower of the desert, medicinal aloe, star cactus, Indian aloe, Mediterranean aloe, true aloe, unguentine cactus.  

Not to mention its names in Spanish:

acíbar, atzavara, aloja, lináloe, maguey morado, pita zabila, pitera amarelo (meaning yellow plant), sábila do penca;
     
And French:  aloès amer (Amer means bitter), aloès vulgaire, mazambron.

Find out how to grow this ancient healing plant here

Learn more about the many USES of this plant

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