Haworthia Revisited – 38. Haworthia variegata

38. Haworthia variegata Bolus, J Bot.Soc.S.Afr. :137(1929).  V.Poelln., Feddes Repert.Spec.Nov. 27:102(1930).  ibid. 44:228(1938).  Bayer :165(1976).  Bayer :60(1982).  Scott :56(1985).  Type: Cape, Botterkloof, Mrs. E. Ferguson in Bolus 18900.

variegata: variegated.

Rosette stemless, proliferous, to 4cm φ.  Leaves 30-40, erect, slender, lanceolate, margins and keel spined, variegated.  Inflorescence simple, slender, to 35cm.  Flowers greenish-white with brownish venation, sparse on peduncle.

1982 – This species is for the present only known in the area between Riversdale and Stilbaai.  Of the two populations known, one comprises very proliferous plants in rocky situations, and the second sparsely proliferous individuals in sandy areas.  The plants have long slender leaves, dark green in colour and strongly variegated.  The relationship with other species is obscure and must probably be sought with H. chloracantha.  H. variegata and H. divergens are superficially very similar but the latter has incurved leaf tips.  Geographically considerations seem to preclude a real relationship between these two species.  H. variegata is closely associated with the coastal limestones of the Southwestern Cape.  As it is also in the winter rainfall area one can expect that it may present some problems in cultivation.

1999 – Several collections throw more light on this species and the discussion should be considered together with that for H. chloracantha, and H. floribunda.  These southern Cape species cannot be considered discrete elements.  C. Burgers collected from a very cryptic population on the eastern lower slopes of the Potberg.  The plants were very drawn into the gravelly sandstone derived but clayey soil.  These were given a manuscript name ‘H. hemicrypta’, applied here at varietal rank.  Three other different populations have been recorded all differing markedly from one another and this is expressed in the varieties recognised below.  The one at Swellendam is very like H. floribunda var. virescens.

a.var. variegata
Known only from Botterkloof and from several kilometres inland in sandy situations.  The plants are very variegated.  They can only be said to co-occur with one species which is in the same sub-genus, H. turgida.

Distribution: 3421(Riversdale): Droevlakte, Takkiesfontein (-AD), Bohnen 7791 (NBG,PRE); Botterkloof (-AD), Dekenah 19 (PRE), Smith 5384 (NBG), Ferguson in BOL18900; Hoekraal (-AB), Smith 5598 (NBG), Bayer in KG93/71 (NBG); 10km Riversdale to Stilbay (-AD), Minnaar in BOL23214;.

b.var. hemicrypta var.nov.  Type: 3420 (Bredasdorp): NE. lower slopes of Potberg (-BC), C. Burgers 2582 (NBG, Holo.).

hemicrypta: half-buried.

Moderately variegated to plain, with leaves long and slender, tending to arch out and then incurved.  (A var. variegata foliis longis gracilibus subtiliter variegatis et habitu occultanti differt).

This variety is represented by three populations west of the Breede river with the most inland to the northeast of Swellendam.  The plants of the inland populations are quite robust and proliferous.  Both the most coastal and the most inland forms are relatively unmarked, whereas the other has distinctive spotting on the lower and outer leaf surfaces.

Distribution: 3420(Bredasdorp): Swellendam (-AB), Tomlinson 13681 (PRE), Ross-Frames in NBG2603/27 (BOL); 3km W. Swellendam (-AB), Smith 3232, 5620 (NBG), DeKok (NBG); Luiperskop (-AD), Venter 1 (NBG); NE. lower slopes of Potberg (-BC), C. Burgers 2582 (NBG), Bayer 2564 (NBG).

c.var. modesta var.nov. Type: CAPE-3420 (Bredasdorp): SW. Kathoek (-AD), Bayer 2551 (NBG, Holo.).

modesta: modest.

Leaves broader and shorter and with less conspicuous spination, than the typical variety.  (A var. variegata habitu prolificanti et foliis brevioribus pernuerosis aliquantum incurvatis differt).

This variety occurs among fynbos in fairly loose sand amid rocks.  It is proliferous and moderately variegated although the fewer leaves are more turgid than expected for this species.  There is some evidence of translucence along the margins and at the leaf-tips, particularly in a collection by Venter also from Kathoek.  A.R. Mitchell also collected a single specimen of this element from the Potberg Mountain where it was later also noted by P.V. Bruyns.  H. heidelbergensis grows in the same vicinity.

Distribution: 3420 (Bredasdorp): SW. Kathoek (-AD), Bayer 2551 (NBG), Potberg Mountain (-BC), Bayer & Bruyns 6542 (NBG).

d.var. petrophila var.nov.  Type: CAPE-3420 (Bredasdorp): Renosterfontein (-CA), Burgers 2158 (NBG, Holo.).

petrophila: stone loving.

Very proliferous with more leaves which are relatively shorter and incurved than in the typical variety.

The leaves of this variety are rather slender, compared to the more deltoid-shape in the var. modesta.  The denser and stronger spination is reminiscent of H. herbacea, but otherwise there is little probability of any close relation with that species.

Distribution: 3420 (Bredasdorp): Renosterfontein (-CA), Burgers 2158 (NBG)