Mystery – part 14, Flowers

42. A very critical bit of information is missing in Haworthia classification. This is flower information, which has been traditionally scorned as not informative. Possibly the reason it tells what no one wants to hear. Here are flower profiles for these two imponderable mirabilis and floribunda populations from W Swellendam. What do you think?

 8058a flower faces

8059 flower faces

8058b flower profiles

8059 flower profiles

Lawrence Loucka: At a quick glance I can tell these are Haworthia flowers. On closer review it seems the two sets are slightly different, but I don’t have the vocabulary to describe them. The base of the flower tubes, the perigon, seem similar, and the petal center colors range from yellow/green to red/brown in both sets. 8058 top 3 petals seem less spread in face view than 8059. Bottom petals of 8059 seem more curved in profile view than 8058. But if I mixed all the images up I’m not sure I could sort them out.

Bruce Bayer: Yes Lawrence – that is the real rub. I also have sets of pictures of the changes of flowers with age as a complication. My pictures were taken to avoid that. But I also thought that if I halved each set it would also be near impossible to match the halves up again. In Updates I discuss the variables and explain that some of the differences are greater than that on which species are based, e.g. pedicellate vs stipitate, bracts stem-wrapping vs recaulescent, etc.

Bob Guffanti: All other plants are sorted based on floral details, with a little DNA evidence thrown in, and a nod to foliage.

Bruce Bayer: Yes Bob. It is very funny and ironic that the floral differences that distinguish the three “Haworthia genera”, was ignored and that DNA evidence was needed to recognise them. Similarly funny and ironic is that flower similarities are ignored because the foliage are slightly different.

ed. also see …