Haworthia Revisited – 49. Haworthia limifolia

49. Haworthia limifolia Marl., Trans.R.Soc.S.Afr. 1:409(1908).  Bayer :129(1976).  Bayer :69(1982).  Scott :31(1985).  Smith, Fl.Pl.Afr. 55:24 (1997).  Type: W. Delagoa Bay, Marloth 4678 (PRE):  H. limifolia var. diploidea Res., Feddes Repert.Spec.Nov. 48:(1940).  Type: ex Lisbon.  Not preserved:  H. limifolia var. tetraploidea ibid.  Type: ex hort Lisbon.  Not preserved:  H. limifolia fa marlothiana Res., Bolm.Soc.Broteriana 14:200(1941):  H. limifolia var. marlothiana Res., Mems.Soc.Broteriana: Succ.Afr. 3:93(1943).  Type: ex hort Lisbon.  Not preserved:  H. limifolia var. schuldtiana ibid.  Type: ex hort Lisbon.  Not preserved:  H. limifolia var. stolonifera ibid., Mems.Soc.Broteriana: Succ.Afr. 3:94(1943).  Type: ex hort Lisbon.  Not preserved:  H. limifolia var. stolonifera fa pimentelli ibid.  Type: ex hort Lisbon.  Not preserved:  H. limifolia var. stolonifera fa major ibid.  Type: ex hort Lisbon.  Not preserved:  H. limifolia var. keithii Smith, JS.Afr.Bot. 16:4(1950).  Type: Swaziland, Smith 5693 (EL, NBG).

limifolia: file‑like leaves.

Rosette stemless, slowly proliferous, with or without stolons, 5-7cm φ.  Leaves 12-30, light to very dark green and even brownish-green, opaque, ovate-lanceolate, spreading, scabrid with white or concolorous tubercles, or with confluent transverse ridges, margins and keel scabrid.  Inflorescence slender, to 35cm.  Flowers slender, tepals fused and with revolute tips.

1982 – H. limifolia was originally recorded from west of Delagoa Bay but there does not seem to be any confirmed record of this species in Mocambique itself.  It is reported to be in the vicinity of Maputo.  It is quite well recorded from Swaziland in the eastern mountains. and from Gollel in the south-eastern corner.  Other records include Barberton, Ndumu, Umfolozi and Paulpietersburg.  It is clearly widespread and the populations differ markedly.  It propagates very readily from stolons given optimum growing conditions, as do both H. nigra and H. venosa ssp. tessellata.  There is a record of an unusual white‑tubercled form from the Mozaan River in the south‑eastern Transvaal.  The var. gigantea is a large variety with small raised tubercles as opposed to the transverse ridges characteristic of the species.  The var. ubomboensis is entirely glabrous.  However, it has never been recollected at its purported locality east of Stegi and thus remains a mystery.  The plants are apparently sought after for their purported medicinal and magical properties and may thus be heavily exploited.

1999 – Despite a very wide distribution range, the species is really poorly known.  The herbarium record is fairly comprehensive but the species remains virtually known only from single plant collections from each locality.  The var. ubomboensis is apparently from the locality south of Stegi as indicated to me personally by Capt. Keith.  This is no doubt also the same general vicinity from which the var. keithii also came.  An interesting collection is that of a glabrous light green variant similar to var. ubomboensis from the mountains near Barberton.  This seems to be a more geographically discrete element than the original from south of Stegi.  Also interesting is the olivaceous and stoloniferous variant reported to have been collected at Hoedspruit.  A striated variant in which the tubercles are white and almost confluent in transverse bands was recognised by J. Pilbeam (1983).  This does have some substance and appears to have been collected in the Pongola area and specifically along the Mozaan River, a tributary of the Pongola River.

a.  var. limifolia.

Distribution: 2531 (Barberton): Saddleback Mt. (-CC), Stayner in KG33/71 (NBG); Near Pongola (-CC), Ross-Frames 13436 (PRE).  2631 (Hlatikulu): Mbuluzi gorge, Blue Jay ranch (-BD), Buitendag 1145 (PRE), Bayer (NBG); Vimy Ridge (-CD), Karstens in PRE39431, in NBG56413.  2632(Bela Vista): Stegi (-CA), Keith in PRE39436, PRE39438; Ubombo Ridge, 13km from Stegi (-CA), Keith in PRE34862, in PRE61130, Smith 5693 (NBG); Ubombo N. of Pongola (-CA), Keith in PRE34863; 16km S. Stegi (-CA), Keith in PRE61128 in PRE61129; Abercorn Drift (‑CC), Keith in NBG69412, Smith 5740 (NBG); Ndumu (-CD), Symons in PRE7532; Kosi Bay (-DD), Cronwright in PRE34875.  2730 (Paulpietersburg): Mozaan River near Moolman (-BA), Smith 7214 (NBG); 30km E. Paulpietersburg, Omdraai (-BD), Roos 4362 (PRE).  2731 (Pongola): Slopes of Ubombo N. Pongola (-AC), De Wet in PRE34874 Near Pongola (-BC), De Wet in PRE34858; 7km W. Gollel (-BD), Dhlamini in NBG646/59.  2832 (Hluhluwe): 8km W. Somkele, Smith 5692a (NBG).

Inadequately located: Zululand, Delagoa Bay, Marloth 4678 (PRE); SuldoSuavo, road to Moamba, Carvealho 755 (NBG).

b. var. gigantea Bayer, JS.Afr.Bot. 28:215(1962).  Bayer :118(1976).  Bayer :112(1982).  Type: NATAL‑2731(Louwsberg): Nongoma (‑DA), Bayer 112 (PRE).

gigantea: very large.

The location of this variety is obscure and although I have occasionally seen large forms with the same small discrete tubercles which characterize it, I have not been able to determine their geographic origin.

Distribution: 2731 (Louwsberg): Nongoma (‑DA), Bayer 112 (PRE).

c. var. ubomboensis (Verdoorn) Smith, JS.Afr.Bot. 16:3(1950).  Bayer :164(1976).  Bayer :69(1982).  Scott :33(1985).  H. ubomboensis Verdoorn, Fl.Pl.Afr. 21:t818 (1941).  Type:  SWAZILAND‑2632 (Bela Vista): 16km S. Stegi (-CA), Keith in PRE26392.

ubomboensis: from the Ubombo Mts.

This variety has its origin in several collections from near Stegi (including probably the var. keithii) which seem to indicate that it has no geographic base.  However, a very similar bright green glabrous form has also been collected by E. van Jaarsveld near Barberton.

Distribution: 2632 (Bela Vista): 16km S. Stegi (-CA), Keith in PRE26392, 26392b.