Haworthia Revisited – 4. Haworthia bayeri

4. Haworthia bayeri Venter & Hammer, Cact.Succ.J. (U.S.) 69:75(1997).  H. emelyae p.p. Bayer, figs. 10 & 11 in Natn.Cact.Succ.J 34:28(1979). p.p. Bayer :109(1976).  Bayer :38(1986): H. willowmorensis sensu Scott, Aloe 11:8(1973).  H. correcta sensu Scott :74(1985).  Type: CAPE-3323 (Willowmore): Hills S. Uniondale (-CA), F.J. Stayner in KG164/69 (NBG).

bayeri: for M.B. Bayer.

Rosette stemless, 15-20 leaves.  Leaves: retused, dark brownish-green to blackish- green, slightly scabrid, keels and margins with minute spines, or smooth, tip rounded and not pointed, the end-area opaque, cloudy transparent, with sparse reticulate patterning or longitudinal lines.  Inflorescence to 300mm.  Flowers 15-25.

This species is in some respect an embarrassment to me.  The fact that it now bears my name may be a tribute but it also points to falibility.  It must surely be one of the more spectacular of the retuse-leaved species and my own two illustrations in 1979 indicate how clearly different it is to H. emelyae.  It is only after the publication of the revised Handbook that I saw this species growing in the very near vicinity of H. emelyae var. comptoniana.  I was also aware that a Dysselsdorp collection of mine flowered at a different time to H. emelyae.  Dr W.R. Branch of Port Elizabeth had also sent me a plant from near the western end of the Baviaanspoort near Willowmore which was more like H. bruynsii than H. emelyae.  David Cumming of Australia had also commented in his astutely observant way that there were two species involved.  Robert Kent’s discussion of this species in Haworthiad (7:15, 1993) under the title H. emelyae, deals with the original description of H. correcta.  His view is that while Mrs Blackburn may have collected H. bayeri at Uniondale as Scott contends, it was not the element described and illustrated by von Poellnitz.  The photograph in Kakteenkunde is not the species from Uniondale and shows the leaves as pointed as they are in H. emelyae.   My collections of H. bayeri were grown rather hard and were never free of surface encrustation, and neither did my specimens of H. emelyae ever reach a pristine condition.  This further obfuscated already poor observation on my part.  There is a reliable report of a collection of this species in the Rooinek Pass south of Laingsburg which constitutes a considerable extension of its range.

H. bayeri always has a rounder leaf-tip than does H. emelyae and in cultivation develops a dark green coloration.  The translucence of the leaves is deeper and there is no flecking in the leaves as is the case in H emelyae.  There is no significant difference in the habitats where the two species are found.  H. bayeri is a small degree eastward from H. emelyae, north of the Kamanassie Mountains, and does not go much further west than Oudtshoorn.  This species has the potential to produce the same stunning range of selected cultivars that Japanese growers have produced in H. truncata.

3321 (Ladismith): Rooinek Pass (-BB), Venter sn. (NBG).  3322 (Oudtshoorn): S. Oudtshoorn (-CA), Peers in NBG1940/37, Smith 5780, 5781 (NBG), Bayer in KG111/72 (NBG); De Rust (-BC), Smith 2061, 2062 (NBG); 3km S. De Rust (-CB), J. Scott 243 (PRE); Doringkloof (-CB), Bayer in KG146/72 (NBG); E. De Rust (-DB), Smith 2062, 4009 (NBG), Rossouw 404 (NBG).  3323(Willowmore); SW. Willowmore (-AC), Smith 5206 (NBG); E. Willowmore (-BC), Viviers 908 (NBG); S. Uniondale (CA), Stayner in KG164/69 (NBG).