Quiver Trees From Namibia Put Up For Adoption

8 Oct 2021

As guests explore the Canyon Village, a lodge situated in Gondwana Canyon Park in southern Namibia, they will come across clusters of curiously beautiful quiver trees along the way, thanks to a project launched by the Gondwana Collection that aims to preserve these extraordinary but rapidly declining trees. The quiver tree is one of Namibia’s national plants and is widely regarded as a symbol of the south.

Attentive employees of Gondwana Canyon Park had repeatedly observed how entire groups of these unique succulents died. And indeed, the quiver tree was put on the Red List of Species at Risk in 2010. Without further ado, a quiver tree breeding programme was started in Gondwana Canyon Park.  

Survival strategy of young quiver trees: First they grow high before they branch and put on many leaves.  

The trees grow in generations with each generation potentially reaching between 100 and 120 years. The younger trees however need to get sufficient water for several consecutive years in order for them to mature successfully. With the long periods of drought that have recently plagued the region there has been little opportunity for young trees to become established. Subsequently, as the older trees are dying out and with younger trees not growing optimally, their numbers have decreased.

Adopt a quiver tree

Gondwana’s Quiver Tree Project is an important initiative aimed at enhancing our understanding of the trees, their successful monitoring and ultimately to ensure their sustainability.

Become part of reintroducing this endangered plant into the landscape within the Gondwana Canyon Park by purchasing a small tree from our very own Quiver Tree nursery located at the Fish River Canyon in Namibia. After adopting a tree, you will receive a certificate with the GPS coordinates via E-mail. On your next visit to southern Namibia, you can pay a visit to your tree.

The 'terms of adoption' can be found at The Narrative Namibia.

Epafras Akwenye (left) and Simon Iihelele (right), two of the original members of the Gondwana Canyon Park team, standing in front one of the quiver trees that were planted in 2008.

Fascinating succulent of the southern Namibia

Botanists call the quiver tree Aloidendron dichotomum, formerly Aloe dichotoma. The word “dichotomum” is Greek and means forked, which describes the way in which the tree grows. The branches repeatedly divide in the shape of the letter Y. Quiver trees reach a height of 3 to 9 metres.

Young quiver trees are usually difficult to find and not immediately recognised as such by laymen, because in general they only survive in sheltered spots, in crevices between rocks or under shrubs and other “nursing plants”. Thus protected the seeds and seedlings get more moisture and are less exposed to wind and sun and during their early years they are hidden from folivores.

Ideal location: The rock funnel collects water and protects against leaf-eaters like kudus. 

After the first years of development the quiver tree tries to reach a height of 2 to 3 metres as quickly as possible. Only when this size has been achieved does it start to branch out in Y-shapes and to develop more leaves.

When the quiver tree is 20 to 30 years old it flowers for the first time. The bright yellow blossoms appear between the end of May and the beginning of July and form a picturesque contrast to the blue skies on a clear winter’s day.

Inke Stoldt





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