A unique and striking much-branched shrub or small tree. Large specimens of the fan aloe may reach a height of 3-5 m. The stems are forked with clusters of strap-shaped leaves arranged in 2 opposite rows. The clusters resemble an open fan, hence the common name fan aloe. The leaves are dull or grey-green in colour, with the margins almost smooth. The racemes are cylindrical in shape and are always single in each leaf cluster.