Appendix 10 to Vol. 8 Haworthia Update – An additional report on Haworthia mirabilis and Haworthia rossouwii ‘minor’, Rooivlei and Brakkloof, N and, NNE Bredasdorp.
The previous report indicated the necessity for further exploration of Rooivlei. I had observed H. mirabilis, but not reported it in Update 3, at Brakkloof to the west in 2004. So the object of this appendix is to remedy this oversight and to also cover more area of Rooivlei. At Brakkloof there are several small remnants of rocky shale and we located several populations, while at Rooivlei we actually explored the very western boundary. This constitutes the same topographical area as the Rooivlei populations but the plants we observed were factually on Brakkloof.
The populations reported on here are:-
- 6537 H. mirabilis, Groudini, W Napier
- 7285 H. mirabilis, Brakkloof 3
- 8046 H. mirabilis, Brakkloof 2
- 8047 H. mirabilis, Brakkloof 1
- 8048 H. mirabilis, W Rooivlei 1
- 8049 H. mirabilis, W Rooivlei 2
- 8050 H. mirabilis, W Rooivlei 3
- 8051 H. mirabilis, E Rooivlei
- 8045+ H. rossouwii ‘minor’, NW type locality
- 8052 H. mirabilis, S.Welgegund
- 8053 H. mirabilis, Welgegund SE 8052
Included here is a populations as “outsider” viz 6537 H. mirabilis from possibly the furthest south and west at Groudini between Caledon and Napier. This is at the southern end of the Jongensklip valley and the plants are large and brownish. Here is also a population of H. mirabilis east of Rooivlei (8051) and a little south of 7822 reported in Appendix 9. . These are small plants reminiscent of the plants near east of Napier. I have grown plants from that earlier record and they turned out quite large and very dark green. Added are a few more pictures of 8045 also reported on in appendix 9. The reason for these is that I wanted to show Kobus Venter the plants and we were a little further south by about 75m. While the “mirabiloid” plants were in flower or with enlarged capsules, two of the “rossouwoid minor” plants had shed seed.
It was interesting to find habitat all Bokkeveld shale, that was apparently ideally suited to H. rossouwii and yet find no haworthias at all. Similarly there were several sites that were just devoid of succulents generally and I can only speculate that such sites are just dryer, hotter and with less air movement. Gasteria carinata was present at several localities. Sometimes the Gasteria and the Haworthia were in very close association and sometimes slightly apart. A constant source of amazement is that the variation among the plants seems to cover yet another spectrum. All these populations were flowering but it was now late February and towards the end of flowering. For 8046 I have included a single plant we observed at a habitat about 200m away. It was a single large plant severely browsed in north facing blocky shale. The plants at the actual site of 8046 are in more finely plated vertical and east facing shale. They were also generally quite small.
Drawing any conclusions from all these pictures is rather difficult. The pervading message is that the plants themselves are highly variable and that flower characters simply follow that of the leaf rosettes. It is impossible without the benefit of some sophisticated pattern analysis to generate a common image of either the plant rosette or flower faces and profiles. It is just crass to claim that certain populations like that of H. mirabilis ‘badia’ or H. mirabilis ‘mundula’ are different and claim species status. If this was the case it would have to be admitted that any rationalization of the existence of species would be pointless.
Mr Josie deKok for access to Brakkloof and again Mr Francois van Zyl for Rooivlei. Kobus Venter was welcome accompaniment and drove us there. At a later visit Niklaas deVilliers kindly allowed us access to Welgegund north of Rooivlei.
2. MBB7285 H. mirabilis, Brakkloof 3
5. MBB8048 H. mirabilis, W Rooivlei 1
7. MBB8050 H. mirabilis, W Rooivlei 3
9. MMB8045+ H. rossouwii ‘minor’, NW type locality
11. MBB8053 H. mirabilis, Welgegund SE 8052