Haworthia mutica, Sandrift, Drew MBB8018 = KG226/70 = JDV92/64
This is an unusual population in that it is the most northwestern one known although only about 15km from Klipport nearer Stormsvlei. It is the source of the single plant that developed gross milkiness and for which I coined the name “Silver Widow”. The population was first recorded by a Mr Meiring who worked as a nurseryman for the Bonnievale Nursery of Hurling and Neil in the years at least prior to World War 2. There is a letter in the Compton Herbarium archive which records a transaction between Meiring and Triebner of 100 plants as 1s ea (i.e. = 10cents in today’s currency.). I really struggled to find plants again in a very disturbed area and eventually did so after I had placed “Silver Widow” there in her pot to see if the flowers would be pollinated in situ. Indeed they were and then found about 20 plants in a very small area nearby. This visit owes to the report by Jakub Jilemicky of still more plants a very short distance again from these. Here there are about 80 plants in an area of about so many square meters.
Illustrations of the plants and flowers are given. The only comment I can make is to repeat that I never ignored the flowers out of ignorance. The fact is that we have a number of pretentious experts who have no concept of species other than an inherited vague notion that species have something to do with the capacity to interbreed. The fact that Haworthia plants do so freely does not handicap their enthusiasm for new species either. So this is a bit of irony. My contention was that if you did consider flowers there would be a lot less species than even in my conservative approach. In fact I am quite sure a competent professional taxonomist might well consider that I have been too generous with species and too kind to my critics.
(image files mislabeled as 8012, but are 8018 – ed.)
I thank Gerhardt Swart for access to the site and to Jakub Jilemicky for informing me of the new find.