Die Nekkies Haworthia – A further visit and updated information

Bruce Bayer has now been back to Die Nekkies and returns with more detail to add to the broader Haworthia maculata picture, and considerable detail for H. maculata at its home range located north of the Brandvlei Dam on a low range of hills named Die Nekkies.  (See Haworthia Updates Volume 9, A myth corrected to – Haworthia maculata var. livida (Bayer) Bayer – and flowers ignored). These low hills extend for 10-12km east to west along the north shore of the Dam. They are geologically Witteberg Sandstone and H. maculata is not known off this formation except in the lower Hex River Pass where it is found in Table Mountain Sandstone.  H. herbacea (and H. reticulata) are more abundant on the Dwyka Tillite, and on Bokkeveld and Ecca shales. The Wiiteberg is sandwiched between Bokkeveld Shale and Dwyka Tillite, and Ecca Shale of the Karoo System overlies Dwyka Tillite.  Because of considerable faulting and folding the Cape Terrain is geologically and topographically very broken and there are a multitude of skeletal rocky habitats – the raw rock is very exposed and the surfaces are erosional. Haworthia are rarely found on depositional sites. The fact that there is also a stable and dependable winter rainfall also contributes greatly to the success of small succulents in situations that cannot maintain high biomass levels. This all drives home the fact that Darwin’s dictum that distribution is the lintel to understanding species is doubly true for Haworthia where morphological differences are minimal.

In Die Nekkies and Biomes and Haworthia maculata Haworthia Updates Volume 6, Chapter 6 Bruce Bayer explained and presented data in connection with the variation and distribution of what he considers to be the species Haworthia maculata over the whole range of its distribution. He long ago wrote explanations like this for H. reticulata and H. herbacea that are related species. Bayer has already shown that in genera like this within the very diverse Southern African system, simply do not resolve on the basis of simplified morphological characterization. The new data presented here, especially with the observations on the varied flowering time of H. maculata, shows that the view expressed, that H. retusa and H. mirabilis really form one integrated system, is true. This further underscores the view long ago held by Bayer that H. herbacea, H. reticulata and H. maculata are further extensions of that single system. Even the floral morphology points to this.

– Lawrence Loucka
[photographs and map by Bruce Bayer]


Haworthia maculata – 7526, 8019, 8020, 8021, 8022, 8023, 8024, 8025, 8026, 8027.
Haworthia herbacea – 7995, 7996, 8012, 8014, 8015.
Transition Haworthia herbacea to Haworthia maculata 7996
Haworthia pubescens
 – 8011.
Weak transition Haworthia maculata to Haworthia pubescens – 7997.
Strong transition Haworthia maculata to Haworthia pubescens – 8002.

7996 as H. herbacea is very close to 8020 that is H. maculata and the nature of the plants at 8020 is that the population is transitional to herbacea too. In fact the same is almost true for 7996.


Haworthia maculata MBB7526, Die Nekkies


What a difference a few weeks can make … above photos taken November 1, 2012.
Below were taken December 8th.

And an interesting variant…



MBB8019 – Haworthia maculata, Yacht Club Gate, Brandvlei

This is a picture taken from a very late flowering population of H. maculata near Die Nekkies resort south of Worcester. Looking north to where H. maculata grows at about 4000ft on the Audenberg peak, and to the right at about 1000ft in the lower Hex River pass. That is where it occurs close to H. aff nortieri.


Haworthia maculata MBB8020, Die Nekkies, east end




Haworthia maculata MBB8021, Die Nekkies, west end


Haworthia pumila also near by.


Haworthia maculata MBB8022, Die Nekkies

Habitat of Haworthia maculata at Die Nekkies, Brandvlei, south of Worcester.





Haworthia maculata MBB8023, Die Nekkies




Haworthia maculata MBB8024, Die Nekkies



Haworthia maculata MBB8025, Die Nekkies

Long thin leaves.



Haworthia maculata MBB8026, Die Nekkies


View west from 8026

Haworthia maculata MBB8027, Die Nekkies





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