Haworthia Revisited – 31. Haworthia reticulata

31. Haworthia reticulata Haw., Syn.Pl.Succ. :94(1812).  Haw., Rev.Pl.Succ. :57(1921).  V.Poelln., Feddes Repert.Spec.Nov. 44:233(1938).  Bayer, Natn.Cact.Succ.J 27:10(1972).  Bayer :150(1976).  Bayer :52(1982).  Aloe reticulata Haw., Trans.Linn.Soc. 7:9(1804).  A. arachnoidea var. reticulata (Haw.) Ker-Gawl., Curtis’ Bot.Mag. :t1314.  Type: Cape.  Not preserved.  Neotype: Icon. Curtis’ Bot.Mag. :t1314(1811):  Aloe pumilio Jacq., Hort. Schoenbr. 4:11(1804).  Type: icon, Hort. Schoenbr.:  H. reticulata var. acuminata idem. 43:93(1938).  Type: Cape, Robertson, G.J. Payne.  Not preserved.  Neotype (designated here): CAPE-3319(Worcester): Kliphoogte, SW. Robertson (-DD), Smith 3986 (NBG):  H. hurlingii var. ambigua Triebn. et V.Poelln. idem. 43:93(1938).  Type: Cape, Montagu, G.J. Payne in Triebn. 906.  Not preserved.  Neotype (designated here): CAPE-3319(Worcester): Wolfkloof, Robertson (-DD), Bayer 1543 (NBG):  H. guttata Uitew. in Desert Pl.Life 19:136(1947).  Type: Cape, Robertson to Bonnievale.  Not preserved.

reticulata: like a network.

Rosette proliferous, partially stemmed, to 8cm φ.  Leaves 25-40, firm sub-erect, incurved, lanceolate-acuminate, opaque with reticulate to mottled patterning, margins and keel frequently with short spines, reddening in sun.  Inflorescence simple, to 25cm.  Flowers large, white to pinkish, with arcuate buds with flattened tips.

1982 – H. reticulata is closely allied with H. herbacea.  It occurs between Worcester and Robertson generally north of the Breede River.  In the area southwest of Robertson it occurs also south of the river and it is sometimes difficult to determine if the species is H. reticulata or H. herbacea.  H. reticulata extends along the Breede River to about Drew and is not known further east.  At Bonnievale the plants have narrower more denticulate leaves.  The distinction between this species and H. herbacea is that it is generally more glabrous, more proliferous and grows higher above the ground.  The flowers are usually pinkish as opposed to beige in H. herbacea.  The var. hurlingii occurs between Robertson and Bonnievale and has short obtuse leaves.  It is small and seldom exceeds 20‑30mm in diameter.  H. reticulata is very much bigger in the lower Hex River Valley where it hybridises with H. herbacea.  Nearby, the two species are again adjacent but do not hybridise.  H. reticulata is very much more variable than H. herbacea and it is possible to see an affinity with H. turgida ‑ especially with the Swellendam and Bredasdorp populations of that species.  Deeply spotted forms of H. reticulata occur in the Eilandia area southwest of Robertson, and it is probable that Uitewaal’s H. guttata was a form of H. reticulata after all.

1999 – This species is now well-known and is very common in the Worcester-Robertson area.  Von Poellnitz three times seemed to confuse specimens from the Eastern Cape with this species.  He described H. haageana in 1930 and in 1937 the var. subreticulata. In the first case with H. haageana, it is certain that the origin was just incorrectly cited as Grahamstown.  Regarding H. haageana var. subreticulata he may in fact have had a plant which did not belong with H. reticulata at all, although he also later conceded that perhaps the cited origin at Grahamstown was perhaps incorrect.  In the case of H. reticulata the flower should always be diagnostic.  The species does vary considerably over its range and there have been several varieties described to cover this.  The varieties upheld here should be seen as a communication about variation as a process of revision, rather than expressing an absolute division of the species.  Ultimately communication may only be effective at the level of geographic locality and origin.

a.  var. reticulata.
There are several populations which are very close in appearance to H. herbacea and the difference is usually that the latter species does not readily form dense clumps and the flower is more buff-coloured.  The close relationship of the two species is a very good indication of how the species in the genus generally can relate to one another.  Each population is fairly distinctive and the varieties formalised here are only a sample of this quite extensive variation, which is often associated with the intergradation with H. herbacea.

Distribution: 3319 (Worcester): 24km NE. Worcester (-DA), Bayliss 2198 (PRE); Keeromskloof (-DA), Bayer in KG662/69 (NBG); Buitenstekloof (-DB), Bayer (NBG); Rooikleigat (-DC), Bayer 1438 (NBG); Ribbokkop (-DC), Bayer 160 (NBG); S. Gemsbokkop (-DC), Bayer 1539 (NBG); Dublin (-DC), Bayer (NBG); Rooiberg (-DC), Bayer in KG175/70, in KG90/76 (NBG); Kliphoogte, SW. Robertson (-DD), Smith 3986 (NBG); Wolfkloof, Robertson (-DD), Smith 3983 (NBG), Bayer 1543 (NBG, PRE), Bayer 2187, 4665 (NBG); Olifantshoogte (-DD), Hurling & Neil (BOL).

Inadequately located: ex hort, Rosch & LeRoux 596 (PRE); Hurling & Neil in BOL24592, van der Merwe 172 (BOL)

b. var. attenuata var. nov. 
Type: CAPE-3320 (Montagu): 2km S. Bonnievale, Smith 3979 (NBG, Holo.).

attenuata: with leaves narrowing to a point.

Differs from the species in having longer, more slender leaves.  (A var. reticulata foliis longioribus gracilioribusque differt).

Although there is a plethora of names already applied to variants of the species, this variety is described to emphasise the southeastern range of the species in the Bonnievale/Drew area.  The plants have more attenuate leaves and they are also more robustly spined.  Curiously there is a resemblance to H. variegata var. modesta, particularly in those clones with relatively flat unmarked upper leaf surfaces and weak spination.

Distribution: 3320 (Montagu): 2km S. Bonnievale (-CC), Smith 3979 (NBG); Bonnievale (-CC), J. Smith 6283 (PRE), van der Merwe (BOL); Angora (-CC), Hurling & Neil (BOL); 5km SE. Bonnievale (-CC), Bayer 4665 (NBG).

c. var. hurlingii (V.Poelln.) Bayer
:52(1982).  H. hurlingii V.Poelln., Cactus J 5:34(1936).  V.Poelln., Feddes Repert.Spec.Nov. 41:202(1937).  V.Poelln. Cactus J 6:19(1937).  V.Poelln., Desert Pl.Life 10:125(1938).  Type: Cape, from Bonnievale, Mr Hurling, Stellenbosch. Not preserved.  Neotype (B&M): icon (B).

hurlingii: for Hurling.

Von Poellnitz suggests that this variety grows deeply buried in the ground.  This is not true for the species nor for this variety, which forms small clumps.  It is characterised by its small obtuse leaves and compact shape.  There are other populations in which the individual rosettes are even smaller and fairly densely spined e.g. Bosluiskloof, southwest of Robertson.

Distribution: 3320(Montagu): Near Bonnievale (‑CC), Smith 3445 (NBG); 18km E. Bonnievale (-CC), Fouche 64 (PRE); Bonnievale (-CC), Hurling & Neil 6283b (BOL,PRE), Hurling & Neil in NBG2341/35, Smith 3442 (NBG); Goudmyn (-CC), Bayer 4659, in KG89/76 (NBG),  (NBG); 7km W. Bonnievale (-CC), Smith 3257, 3981 (NBG).

Inadequately located: ex hort Malherbe in NBG482/42, Marais in NBG1241/36, Smith 3274, 3893 (NBG).

d. var. subregularis (Bak.) Bayer comb. nov. 
H. subregularis Baker, Saund.Ref.Bot. 4:t232(1870).  Baker, J Linn.Soc.Bot. 18:391(1880).  Baker, Fl.Cap. 6:212(1896).  V.Poelln. Cactus J 5:236(1936).  Type: Cape without locality, Copper.  Not preserved.  Lectotype (designated here): Icon. Saund.Ref.Bot. :t232:  H. haageana V.Poelln., Feddes Repert.Spec.Nov. 28:104(1930).  Type: Cape, imported from Grahamstown.  Not preserved:  H. haageana var. subreticulata V.Poelln., Cact. J 5:37(1937).  idem. Cact.J 6:18(1938).  idem. Feddes Rep.Spec.Nov. 44:232(1938).  Type: Cape, Grahamstown, Mrs Ferguson.  Not preserved.

subregularis: almost regular.

In the 1982 edition, mention was made of the larger size of plants from the ‘lower’ Hex River Valley.  The reference is specifically to the DeWet area northeast of Worcester where the plants are indeed large, with often spreading leaves as in the Ref.Bot. illustration.  Baker names the plant for the regularity of the perianth lobes but he is undoubtedly using the same free licence that other botanists have used in comparing flowers of Haworthia with Astroloba, or indeed the flowers of the Haworthia subgenera.  In my opinion he noticed the distinctiveness of the flower respective to others of the subgenus without true cognition of what the differences really were.

Distribution: 3319 (Worcester): De Wet (-DA), Van Breda 223 (PRE), Malherbe in NBG478/42, Barker 516 (NBG), Hurling & Neil in NBG542/35, Stayner (NBG), Smith 3232, 3443 (NBG), Peers (BOL); Hex River Pass (-DA), Barker 7455 (NBG); Boskloof (-DA), Bayer in KG324/71 (NBG); Tweefontein (-DA), Smith 7387 (NBG).

Inadequately located : ex Whitehill, NBG68287, Venter in NBG142/39, Venter 2 (BOL), Meiring in NBG 4538/14 (BOL), Smith 3242, 3353, 5091, 5157, 7269 (NBG).

H. reticulata 145909
H. reticulata 61932
Haworthia reticulata (Haw.) Haw.
[as Aloe reticulata Haw.]
Loddiges, C., The botanical cabinet,
vol. 14: t. 1354 (1827)
Haworthia reticulata (Haw.) Haw.
[as Aloe pumilio Jacq.]
Jacquin, N.J. von, Plantarum rariorum
horti caesarei Schoenbrunnensis
descriptiones et icones,
vol. 4: t. 421 (1804)