Haworthia Revisited – 40. Haworthia wittebergensis

40. Haworthia wittebergensis Barker, JS.Afr.Bot. 8:245(1942).  Bayer :168(1976.  Bayer :61(1982).  Scott :62(1985).  Type: CAPE‑3320 (Montagu): Witteberg (‑BA), L. Pieterse in NBG 68214.

wittebergensis: from the Witteberg mountains.

Rosette stemless, slowly proliferous, to 3cm φ.  Leaves 20-30, long slender attenuate, amplexicaul at base, grey-green with white spines on margins and keel, coriaceous.  Inflorescence simple, slender, to 30cm.  Flowers white with green venation, sparsely arranged.

1982 – So many Haworthia species intergrade frustratingly into related species, that it is a relief to find the occasional species which is indisputably discrete.  This species has long grey‑green leaves, with a dry papery texture.  The leaves are particularly broad at the base where they encircle the stem.  H. wittebergensis also avoids direct sunlight and is invariably crammed tightly into rock cracks and crevices.  In the dry summers the plants may be very difficult to see because the exposed leaves look no different to small dead tufts of grass.  H. wittebergensis is often proliferous but slowly so.  It is also a slow grower and requires winter watering.  In cultivation the leaves tend to be lighter in colour, and they thicken out and become erect spreading.  In the field the leaves may be tightly compacted into a narrow sheaf.

1999 – The distribution seems to be restricted to the mountains to the south of Laingsburg.  A relationship with H. pulchella is often proposed when in fact this species and H. blackburniae are probably closer on account of a stem structure which is similar to that of the Hexangulares.  The stems have quite woody vascular bundles as opposed to the generally uniformly soft tissue of the stems in the subgenus Haworthia.

Distribution: 3320 (Montagu): Witteberg (‑BC) L. Pieterse in NBG 68214, Smith 5647 (NBG); S. Whitehill (-BC), Compton 15247 (BOL), Lewis & Barker in NBG2251/32 (BOL); SW. Laingsburg (-BC), Bayer 2424 (NBG); Rooinek Pass (-BC), Bruyns in KG13/76 (NBG); Keurfontein (-BD), Bruyns in KG14/75 (NBG).

Inadequately located: Leighton (BOL).