Mystery – part 21, Napky

61. 2019.7.19, MBB6536 – I recall Napky as being the origin of H. maraisii v simplicior* or something like that in the total chaos of the Von Poellnitz/Smith era. While we seem so anxious to return to that timeline, are there any more surprises? Many. Just look at these few. Some could be taken for “magnifica” if that was remotely a reality. So let us rather say “some other mirabilis population”. But this must be “mutica” because there is a mirabilis in the vicinity and this population of spring flowering does not match that of nearby winter flowering. And did we say “mutica” without a point. Look at that picture of an excessively mucronate (ending abruptly in a short sharp point) plant almost in the image of the present meaning of “retusa” with the point drawn back from the margins in the centre-line of the leaf. Or has that changed too? I see the modern dictionary has a rounded leaf tip with an indented notch? Latin names also get a bit confusing because I recall “retusa” originally being taken to mean “bent-back – like a thumb”. This at least agrees with the original Latin description and accompanying illustration. (MBB6536 – the mid-east of Area 1)

Let me just add that H. maraisii is as much a myth as H. magnifica and people should know my history of involvement with those two names. It was a hard pill to swallow when I found that in fact they were part and parcel of the same mirabiloid complex. That there are those that dispute this simple reality is beyond my comprehension. IF they are right then there are several thousand haworthia species in the S Cape and many from any one population.

*H. schuldtiana var. simplicior idem. V.Poelln. 49:26(1940), Cape, loc. unknown, Beukman in Long 690. Not preserved. = H. mirabilis var. maraisii. – ed.