Haworthia maculata ↔ Haworthia pubescens, MBB8002 Cilmor.

In Haworthia Update Vol 9 there is a report of a population MBB7997 identified as Haworthia pubescens from north of the Cilmor wine cellary. This is approximately 2-3km southwest of the type locality for the species.  I noted that the plants have less spinuliferous leaf surfaces and there is a degree of surface translucens and maculation (spotting). I also presented 3 pictures of MBB7271 of what I identified as H. maculata from south of the Cilmor cellar. When I first visited this locality I had no problem identifying the few plants I saw as H. maculata on account of their marked spotting.  However, on a recent visit we struggled to find plants at all and the few plants we found were too embedded in rock cracks to make any worthwhile identification.  So we revisited the site to explore more extensively and located a large number of plants higher up and slightly west of our first sightings.  These plants are illustrated here. They incline more to H. maculata than the plants at MB7997 and I have accessioned the population as MBB8002. There is the usual expected large variation in respect of superficial and observable characters. The plants can be proliferous and cluster, more so than at MBB7997. Similarly the leaves can have more translucens and even less spinuliferousness of the surfaces. Some plants have few and quite thick swollen leaves while others may have more and very slender pointed leaves. I have not observed the flowers and really do not expect them to make any difference to the problematic classification of populations that again are neither here nor there in a narrow concept of species. H. herbacea occurs at all four geographic positons at a radius of about 2km. At the brickfield to the northwest as well as just northeast of the Brandvlei Dam wall it is evident to me that there is a transition between H. maculata and H. herbacea. I did report the known distribution of H. maculata in Update 9.  While there is no suitable habitat between Die Nekkies hills at the Brandvlei Dam and the Audensburg or Kanetvlei, there is unexplored suitable habitat southwards to Moddergat and Hammansberg.  There is no evidence of H. maculata eastwards to where H. reticulata is known about 15km east on Ribbokkop.  Westwards no Haworthia is known although G.J. Payne did inform me that he had observed plants in the hills immediately southwest of the Dam at the now submerged hot spring in the Brandvlei prison area.

The submitted pictures include two views. View 1 is looking north of east across the Breede River to the Sandberg where H. pubescens occurs. Its full occurrence on those low hills is not known and this I will explore soon. View 2 is looking eastwards looking at a Dwyka Tillite hill across the river in the upper right. We found no Haworthia on that hill although both H. pumila and H. herbacea are present on the smaller rise to the right and behind it – also Dwyka.  H.herbacea is very abundant on a Dwyka tillite hill about 10km to the south. The corresponding hill on the left is Ribbokkop where H. herbaea, H. reticulata and hybrids are present, and H. arachnoidea also occurs. The limits of H. mirabilis are the higher hills in the background viz. Rooiberg, Gemsbokberg and those are Witteberg sandstones.