Haworthia Revisited – 8. Haworthia cooperi

8. Haworthia cooperi Baker, Saund.Ref.Bot. 4:t.233(1871).  Bayer :109(1976).  Bayer :33(1982).  pp. Scott :103(1985) as to Adelaide.  H. arachnoidea (Haw.) Duv. sensu Pole-Evans, Flow.Pl.S.Afr. 7:t.248(1927).  Type (B&M): Cape, Cooper (K):  H. vittata Baker, loc.cit. :t.263.  Type: Not preserved.  Lectotype: icon t.234, Saund.Ref.Bot. cooperi: for Thomas Cooper.

Rosette to 120mm φ, often proliferous, stemless. Leaves 20-40, fleshy, swollen, oblong-lanceolate, quickly tapering, acuminate or truncating, marginal spines <2mm long if present.  Bluish-green in colour, slightly translucent, with veins usually reddening and leaves developing purplish hues in exposed situations.  Inflorescence compact, firm peduncle with many closely arranged flowers, to 20cm long.  Flowers 20-30, perianth white.

1982 – This species is beautifully illustrated in Refugium Botanicum and two other species, H. pilifera and H. vittata, were also described and illustrated here.  The name H. pilifera has been most commonly used for plants with relatively blunt leaves which occur in the Eastern Cape particularly around King Williamstown.  The name H. vittata was similarly applied to the longer-leaved forms in the Thomas River and Cathcart areas which probably intergrade with H. bolusii.  However, the name H. cooperi can equally be applied and has page preference over the other two names.  H. cooperi is very common widespread and variable as the synonymy suggests.  It is logical to suppose that in this case Haworth must have received specimens at some time or another.  Uitewaal attempted to apply the name H. obtusa Haw. which has since been refuted by Bayer and Pilbeam (1974).  Scott similarly implemented H. altilinea Haw. but uses the name in a restricted sense to exclude all three of Baker’s names, as well as names such as H. limpida and H. mucronata.  The writer’s contention is that the name H. altilinea is a source of confusion and should for the present at least, be rejected. There are thus the four species with translucent bluish-, or greyish-green leaves as indicated in the key.  H. cooperi is distinguished by its generally less hairy or shortly haired leaves.  The leaves are obtuse to obtuse-ovate although forms with longer, more acuminate leaves also occur.  These usually have thicker leaves than corresponding forms in H. bolusii and the leaves are also less hairy.  Scott comments on the withdrawal of plants into the ground, and the question of exposure and soil substrate are responsible for much of the variability in the species.  In ‘stayneri’ collected at Bethelsdorp near Port Elizabeth, and in several other populations, the leaf veins actually become necrotic and the leaf-ends truncated.  In ‘gordoniana’ from Hankey this does not occur.

H. cooperi is a species of the dry grassveld areas of the Eastern Cape and occurs in the high-lying sourveld of the Zuurberg to the dry Valley Bushveld of the Fish River.  Size varies enormously from small glabrous plants less than 40 mm in diameter southwest of Grahamstown, to enormous hairy specimens over 100 mm in diameter at Keiskamma.  The variety leightonii is exceptional in that it occurs on the edges of exposed granite slabs west of East London.  This variety is very proliferous and is characterised by the persistence of reddish coloration in the leaf veins.

1999 – One of the difficulties with this species is in its relationship with H. bolusii var. blackbeardiana, and here the typical variety is applied to that intermediate element in the Thomas River area.  This does not represent the main body of the species at all, which is a product of the nomenclatural system.  Also the previous Handbooks do not present any idea of the variation in this species.  There is an additional problem in the association with H. cymbiformis.  Uitewaal really exposed the problem with his recognition of the name ‘obtusa’ of Haworth for this species.  Bayer and Pilbeam refuted this by suggesting that Uitewaal had misinterpreted Haworth’s description and the illustration associated with it.  Scott similarly refuted Uitewaal and also applied the name as a variety of H. cymbiformis.  However, he illustrated a blue-green variant which we regard as H. cooperi var. obtusata, a new name, in this work.  There is clearly a problem in finding a point of origin for ‘obtusa’ as variant of H. cymbiformis rather than of H. cooperi, and that is answered under the former species.  However, herbarium records indicate a problem in the broader Alicedale/Adelaide areas where truncation and abbreviation of the leaves of both species seems to be evident, together with the problem of green versus blue coloration.  The essential difference between the two species – which generally have the same distribution range and very often co-occur – is that H. cooperi is an open ground species, whereas H. cymbiformis occurs on rocky shelves and cliffs. It is interesting that even a variety like leightonii has a tendency to resemble H. cymbiformis, by acquiring an opaque yellowish-green coloration as opposed to the required blue-green for the species cooperi.  This is a common problem in trying to absolutely circumscribe the species.  But even outside of that, there has been a massive problem in the plethora of names attached to either species.  Both extend into the mountains north and west of Port Elizabeth and it is not clear just how this relates to other species which do the same.  The following varieties are recognised.


a. var. cooperi.
The typical variety occurs in the Thomas River area and is along the transition zone to H. bolusii var. blackbeardiana.  The distinction is that the leaves are slightly more acuminate and the venation tends to acquire reddish tints, while general coloration tends to a purplish hue.  The leaf spines are also generally less than 2mm long.

3225 (Somerset East): 30km S. Cradock (-BD), Smith 5194 (NBG); Bruintjieshoogte (-CB), Britten in PRE 34923, Bayer 2024 (NBG); 11km S. Somerset East (-DC), Smith 2841 (NBG).  3226 (Fort Beaufort): Bobbejaanrivier, Bedford (-CA), Smith 2244 (NBG); Koonap Bridge (-CD), Bayer & Bruyns 6563 (NBG); Elandskop, Adelaide (-CD), Smith 2687, 2797, 2799 (NBG); Adelaide (-CD), Krynauw in NBG270/43; Katberg (-DA), Herre in STE6607 (BOL), Read in BOL71291, Smith 2773 (NBG); Warfield (-DB), Venter 91/82 (NBG); Woburn (-DB), Smith 578 (NBG); Alice, Stewart Memorial (-DD), Smith 5211 (NBG).  3227 (Kingwilliamstown): Thorn River near Cathcart (-AC), Acocks 11003; W. Cathcart (-AC), Bayer in KG 392/70 (NBG); Thomas River (-AD), Smith 3631 (NBG), Scott 1720 (NBG), Stayner in KG402/61 (NBG); Tsomo (-BB), Branch 13 (NBG).

Inadequately located: ex hort. Stanford (BOL).

b. var. dielsiana (V.Poelln.) Bayer comb. nov. 
H. dielsiana V.Poelln., Feddes Repert.Spec.Nov. 28:103(1930).  H. pilifera var. dielsiana idem. 49:27(1940).  H. obtusa var. dielsiana (V.Poelln.) Uitew., Succ. 29:50(1948).  Type: Cape, Sheldon, H.H. Hutton 489. Not preserved.  Neotype (designated here): CAPE-3325(Somerset East): Sheldon (-BB), A.J. van der Merwe in Smith 1140 (NBG).  H. joeyae Scott, Bradleya 13:80(1995).  Type: CAPE-3225( Somerset East): a few kilometers NE. of Cookhouse (-BD), Scott (GRA).

dielsiana: in honour of Prof. Diels of Berlin, Dahlem.

There appear to be two elements within the species with very truncated leaf ends.  The first is this variety from the western area in which the leaves are variously truncated and obtuse. Smith records a wide range of forms with or without leaf spines and some with very rounded leaf-ends.  Sometimes the leaf-margins are almost ridge-like. The leaf-tips do not appear to become necrotic as happens in the var. pilifera. The leaf awn is virtually absent and the leaves tend to have marked venation.  The keel and margins tend to be rounded.

3225 (Somerset East): Sheldon (-BB), Smith 1140 (NBG), Hutton in Herre 489 (BOL); 5km E. Somerset East (-DA), Bayer & Bruyns 6565 (NBG); Glen Avon (-DA), Smith 5790 (NBG); Merantes Kloof (-DB), Smith 3492 (NBG); Eastpoort (-DB), Smith 3491, 3493 (NBG), Reynolds (BOL), Bayer & Bruyns 6558, 6559, 6560 (NBG); Little Fish (-DC), Smith 5550 (NBG).  3226 (Fort Beaufort): 10km N. Adelaide (-CB) Krynauw in NBG267/43, Krynauw in NBG687/41; 19km NE. Adelaide (-CB), Krynauw in NBG269/43 (NBG); Chancery Hall (-CB), Bayer & Bruyns 6564 (NBG); Kagasmond (-CC), Krynauw in NBG273/43; Paardefontein, SE. Adelaide (-CD); Brakfontein, Kroomie (-CD), Smith 5112 (NBG); Koonap (-CD), Smith 7131 (NBG); Adelaide (-CD), Smith 2687 (NBG); 30km S. Adelaide (-CD), Smith 2240 (NBG); Somerset East (-DA), Fouche in PRE 34919; Woburn; Tyumie river (-DB), Acocks 13575 (PRE); W. Fort Beaufort (-DC), Bayer & Bruyns 6592 (NBG); S. Fort Beaufort (-DC),  Bayer & Bruyns 6591 (NBG); E. Fort Beaufort (-DC), Smith 3489 (NBG); 16km N. Cradock road (-DC), Britten in PRE 34918.

Inadequately located: Ross’ Mission, Smith 7492 (NBG); Zaysdorp NBG1019/25; ex hort Whitehill (NBG), Ross-Frames (NBG), Stanford (BOL).

c. var. gordoniana (V.Poelln.) Bayer comb. nov. 
pp H. cooperi (Bak.) Bayer :119(1972).  pp. Bayer :33(1982).  H. gordoniana V.Poelln., Feddes Repert.Spec.Nov. 42:269(1937).  H. pilifera var. gordoniana V.Poelln. idem. 44:237(1938).  H. obtusa var. gordoniana (V.Poelln.) Uitew., Succulenta 29:50(1948).  Type: Zuurbron, Hankey, Long 814. Not preserved.  Neotype (designated here): CAPE-3324 (Steytlerville): Patensie (-DD), Smith 3028 (NBG).

gordoniana: in honour of Gordon King.

There are many variations of small glabrous and spined plants in the Hankey/Patensie area and it is rather problematic to decide to which species they really belong.  Von Poellnitz associated his species with H. cooperi as recognised in this work and it is thus the small blue-green element which is nearly identical to his H. stayneri.  Unlike the latter which is made synonymous with H. cooperi var. pilifera the leaf tips do not truncate on exposure to direct sun.  It differs from similar plants which are regarded as H. gracilis, in that the outer leaves stay incurved and are sparsely spined.  Also the leaves are usually more thickly turgid than in that species.  The plants are less proliferous and tend to be withdrawn into the soil.

3323 (Willowmore): Redcliffe (-BA), Bruyns 7062 (BOL); Uniondale Poort (-CA), Bayer 4404 (NBG); Damse Drif (-CA), Bruyns 1651, 1652 (NBG); Nuwekloof (-CA), Bruyns 1840 (NBG); Saptou (-CB), Bruyns 7079 (BOL); Studtjes (-DB), Bruyns 2190 (NBG).  3324 (Steytlerville): Enkeldoorn (-CB), Perry 1427 (NBG), Bean (NBG); Holgat Kloof (-CC), van Jaarsveld 6885 (NBG); Moordenaarskloof (-CD), Stayner in KG673/71 (NBG);  Grootriver Poort (-DA), Bruyns 2202 (NBG); Quagga to Cambria (-DA), Smith 2912 (NBG); Cambria (-DA), Smith 2904 (NBG); Ouplaas (-DB), Bruyns 7043 (BOL); 2km E. Hankey (-DD), Rossouw 141 (NBG); Patensie (-DD), Smith 3025 (NBG); E. Patensie (-DD), Smith 2908 (NBG); S. Hankey (-DD), Smith 3186 (NBG); Hankey (-DD), Smith 2905 (NBG); 5km N. Hankey (-DD), Bayer in KG193/73 (NBG); N. Hankey (-DD), Smith 2883, 3687 (NBG); NE. Hankey (-DD), Bayer 4474 (NBG), Stayner in KG180/71 (NBG); E. Hankey (-DD), Smith 2597, 2893, 2980 (NBG); Stayner in KG180/71 (NBG); 7km N. Zuurbron (-DD), Smith 3671 (NBG); 5km N. Zuurbron (-DD), Bayer & Bruyns 6553 (NBG); 8km N. Zuurbron (-DD), Bayer & Bruyns 6554 (NBG); N. Joubertina (-DD), Venter 91/64 (NBG).  3325DC Coega Kop(-DC), Long 1132 (PRE).  3424 (Humansdorp): Jeffrey’s Bay (-BB), Bayer & Venter 6597 (NBG).

Inadequately located: Herre STE6609 (BOL).

d. var. leightonii (Smith) Bayer
:128(1976).  Bayer :34(1982).  H. leightonii Smith, JS.Afr.Bot. 16:10(1950).  Scott :107(1985).  pp. H. cooperi Bak., Scott, Cact.Succ.J(U.S.) 53:70(1981).  Type: CAPE-3327 (Peddie): Kayser’s Beach (-BA), Smith 6938 (NBG).

leightonii: for I. Leighton.

There are several populations of this variety and the circumscription is enlarged to include those from further to the northwest in which the leaves are also more lanceolate and untruncated.  It is almost certainly an ecotype associated with the granitic slabs of the coastal area near Kayser’s Beach, where the plants are very proliferous indeed.  This, and the strong purplish coloration, characterise the variety.

3327 (Peddie): Kaysers Beach (-BA), I.H. Leighton in NBG 68362, Smith 6938 (NBG), Bayer in KG6/72 (NBG), Venter 91/105 (NBG); SW. Paynes Hill (-BA), Smith 514 (NBG); Bayer 1621 (NBG).

Inadequately located: Kingwilliamstown, Taylor 3039 (NBG), Leighton in NBG662/34.

e. var. pilifera (Baker) M.B.Bayer comb.nov. 
H. pilifera Baker, Saund.Ref.Bot. 4:t.234(1871).  V.Poelln., Feddes Repert.Spec.Nov. 44:236(1938).  Scott :104(1985).  H. obtusa var. pilifera (Baker) Uitew., Succulenta 29:50(1948).  Type: Not preserved.  Lectotype (here designated): icon, :t.234, Saund.Ref.Bot.:  H. stayneri V.Poelln. loc.cit. 42:270(1937).  H. pilifera var. stayneri idem. 44:237(1938).  H. obtusa var. stayneri (V.Poelln.) Uitew. loc.cit.  Type: 14m Port Elizabeth to Uitenhage, F.J.Stayner. Not preserved.  Neotype (designated here): CAPE-3325 (Port Elizabeth): 13.8m Port Elizabeth to Uitenhage (-DD), F.J.Stayner in KG 2/70 (NBG):  H. stayneri var. salina V.Poelln., Feddes Repert.Spec.Nov. 42:271(1937).  H. pilifera var. salina idem. 44:237(1938).  H. obtusa var. salina (V.Poelln.)Uitew. loc.cit.  Type: Cape, Bethelsdorp Salt Pan, Mrs King. Not preserved.  Neotype (designated here): CAPE-3325 (Port Elizabeth): Bethelsdorp salt pan (-DD), Smith 5817 (NBG):  H. pilifera var. dielsiana fa acuminata V.Poelln. loc.cit. 49:27(1940).  H. obtusa var. dielsiana fa acuminata (V.Poelln.) Uitew. loc.cit.  Type: 4m from Kingwilliamstown, F.A.Fouche.  Not preserved.  Neotype (designated here): CAPE-3227(Kingwilliamstown): 5km Kingwilliamstown to Pirie Dam (-CC), Smith 3913 (NBG):  H. altilinea Haw. sensu Scott, Natn.Cact.Succ.J 34:53(1979).  Scott :84(1985).

pilifera: with hairs.

This variety constitutes the main body of the species which is centred about Kingwilliamstown and Grahamstown.  It is characterised by the obtuse acuminate end-area with a pronounced point to the leaf.  The margins and keel are sharply angled.  It is very closely drawn into the soil surface and, on exposure to direct sunlight truncates to form a necrotic end-area.

3128 (Umtata): Viedgesville (-DA), Rush in KG87/80 (NBG).  3225(Somerset East): Little Fish (-DA), Smith 5551 (NBG); Cookhouse, Patryshoogte (-DD), Long 1462 (PRE).  3226 (Fort Beaufort): 24km S. Bedford (-AC), Bursey in KG335/70 (NBG); Good Hope, Alice (-DD), Smith 5496 (NBG); Fort Hare, Cressey in NBG2132/26 BOL); Alice (-DD), Smith 5210 (NBG); Middledrift (-DD), Smith 5342 (NBG).  3227 (Kingwilliamstown): Peddie (-AA), Smith 5654 (NBG); Fort Murray Bridge (-BD), Bayer (NBG); E. Kieskammahoek (-CA), Smith 6065 (NBG); Kieskammahoek (-CA), Smith 5309, 7350 (NBG); Stayner (NBG); 5km Kingwilliamstown to Pirie Dam (-CC), Smith 3110, 3913 (NBG): (-CC), Dyer 2079 (PRE); Golf course (-CD), Scott 1980 (PRE), Crampton in NBG1096/28 (NBG), Taylor in NBG250/34 (NBG); Line Drift (-CD), Smith 5434 (NBG); Balazi (-CD), Smith 3574 (NBG); St Johns Drift (-DA), Bayer 1623 (NBG); Near Komgha (-DB), Flanagan 1116 (BOL, PRE); Brigadoon (-DC), Bayer 4460 (NBG); Buffalo River (-DC), Smith in NBG343/35 (NBG); Bridal Drift (-DC), Smith 386 (NBG); Cambridge (-DD), Grenfell in NBG872/35.  3325 (Port Elizabeth): Cookhouse to Zuurberg (-BA), Smith 3494 (NBG); Shenfield (-BB), Blackburn in BOL71305; Kommadagga (-BB), Bruyns 1651 (NBG); 18km N. Zuurberg Inn (-BC), Stayner in PRE 57676; Enon (-BC), Dyer 498a (PRE); Zuurberg (-BC), Stayner in KG685/71 (NBG); Addo Park (-BD), Branch 31 (NBG); Bauerskraal (-CB), Bayer & Venter 6559 (NBG); Despatch (-CD), Muir 13133 (PRE). 1km W. Uitenhage (-CD), Smith 5818 (NBG), Britten (BOL); 22km Port Elizabeth to Uitenhage (-DC), F.J.Stayner in KG 2/70 (NBG); E. Uitenhage (-DC), Smith 3582 (NBG); Bethelsdorp salt pan (-DC), Smith 5817 (NBG), Stayner in KG2/70; Redhouse (-DC), Paterson 431 (BOL).  3326(Grahamstown): E. Riebeek East (-AA), Smith 5219 (NBG); Willowfountain (-AA), Bayer 1622 (NBG); Blaauwkrantz (-AC), Dyer 2306 (PRE); NW. Salem (-AD), Bayer 4450 (NBG); 8km N. Grahamstown (-AD), Smith 5628 (NBG), Britten in BOL71290;  The Fort (-BA), Smith 5065 (NBG); Keiskamma near Breakfast Vlei (-BB), Acocks 11871 (PRE); Debe Nek (-BB), Smith 3545 (NBG); N. Committees (-BB), Smith 5435 (NBG); E. Committees (-BB), Smith 5430 (NBG); Committees (-BB), Smith 2428, 5352, 5353, 5366 (NBG), 16km N. Cradock road (-BC), Marloth 12607 (PRE); Grahamstown (-BC), Whitmore in NBG1238/24 (NBG), Erens in PRE 34929; Bothas Hill (-BC), Smith 5355 (NBG);  Frazers Camp (-BD), Smith 5215, 7413 (NBG); Peninsula (-DA), Bayer in KG383/70 (NBG); Brigadoon (-DC), Bayer in KG382/70 (NBG).  3327(East London): S. Kingwilliamstown (-AB), Krynauw in NBG684/41 (NBG); E. Chalumna (-BA), Smith 5773 (NBG).

Inadequately located: Cape ex hort, Marloth 5861 (PRE); Grahamstown, Dyer 1 (BOL), Britten in BOL71289; Leighton in NBG662/34, in BOL71301 (BOL); Kingwilliamstown, Sim 1030 (BOL), Herre in STE6619 (BOL); Mquakwebe, Leighton in BOL20734-6, in Smith 6938 (BOL).

e. var. truncata (Jacobs.) M.B.Bayer comb. nov. 
H,. obtusa var. truncata Jacobs., Nat. Catt. Succ. J. 10: 81 (1955). Type: Not preserved. Neotype: (B&M in ms.): icon in Jacobsen, Handbuch der Sukk. Pfl. 724, f644 (1956). Epitype: CAPE-3227 (Stutterheim): Runlets, Mgwali (-DA), Smith 5295 (NBG).

truncata: with obtuse leaves.

Rosette proliferous, to 70mm φ, Leaves 20-25, 20-25 x 8mm wide, pale blue-green, erect, truncated, translucent and lightly veined above.  (A var. cooperi foliis parvioribus truncatis differt).

I am grateful to I. Breuer for drawing attention to the possible correct application of this name. The important arbiter would actually be colour, which Jacobsen does not stipulate.  However, Breier suggests the plants from the Bolo Reserve distributed under I.S.I. No. 1762 represent Jacobsen’s variety; otherwise I would have incorporated it with H. cymbiformis var. obtusa. This is a smaller variety than the western var. dielsiana with similarly truncated leaves, and the distinction is largely on geographical grounds.  Other differences are the smaller size, the rapid off-setting, and the almost unlined leaves of the var. truncata as opposed to var. dielsiana.   The var. truncata is at the northeast of the distribution range of the species where it extends into the Transkei.  Both Bayer and Pilbeam, and Scott have attempted to refute Uitewaal’s interpretation of H. obtusa Haw. as an earlier synonym for H. cooperi.  This is a case in which the option is entirely an open one.  How and why Uitewaal chose to depart from the general application of the name seems to be the norm for Haworthia.

3227 (Kingwilliamstown): Hunts Drift (-AC), Smith 5175 (NBG); Inerbolo (-BC), Bruyns (NBG); Mgwali (-BC), Smith 5193 (NBG); Runlets, Mgwali (-DA), Smith 5295 (NBG).

g. var. venusta (Scott) Bayer comb.nov. 
H. venusta Scott, Bradleya 14:87(1996).  Type: CAPE-3226 (Grahamstown): NE. Alexandria (-DA), Britten 781 (GRA).

venusta: charming, and for Miss Grace Britten. Her excellent herbarium sheet led to the recent rediscovery by Gerhard Marx.

This very handsome variety is, surprisingly, coarse white-haired, exaggerating the slightly hairy tendency foundin the other varieties. It offsets sparsely if at all, and remains quite small.

3326 (Grahamstown): NE. Alexandria (-DA), Britten 781 (GHS, NBG), Britten and Archibald 781 (BOL, PRE).

Volume 1, Chapter 1:- Haworthia gracilis, H. cymbiformis and H. cooperi in the greater Baviaanskloof area

I will be disappointed if anyone had concluded I had any fixed ideas on the classification of these three species and their relationship. It has a problem which has long been on my mind. What happened recently (Nov.1998) is that I was offered the use of a time-share apartment at Jeffrey’s Bay, near the mouth of the Gamtoos River. I used this opportunity to spend six days in the field testing my hypothesis concerning the species Haworthia cymbiformis, Haworthia cooperi and Haworthia gracilis, and this is what I would like to record.  Subsequent to that trip (Mar.1999) I planned and executed an excursion through the Baviaanskloof to Grahamstown and Stutterheim in March 1999, and repeated the exploration in Sept. and Oct, 1999.

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Volume 1, Chapter 2:- Haworthia mucronata and its new variety.

A new variety, Haworthia mucronata var. rooibergensis is described in Haworthiad 13:5 (1999).  It raises many questions, and leaves as many unanswered.

What do the authors, Esterhuizen and Battista, mean by Haworthia mucronata?.  A very curious picture emerges.  There are two sources which must be considered recent and hopefully authoritative.  These are C.L.Scott, and M.B.Bayer.  Bayer does not use the name mucronata and therefore Scott must be presumed to be the authority followed.  But Scott regards H. habdomadis as a separate species whereas Esterhuizen and Battista treat it as a variety of H. mucronata.  The two authors also say that their new variety, where it occurs east of Vanwyksdorp (and presumably also their mention of its occurrence south of Calitzdorp), is on the southern boundary of the H. mucronata complex.  Who do they follow?  If they are using Scott (or Von Poellnitz for that matter) they seem to have mistaken the given distribution.  Scott’s distribution map gives five points for H. mucronata which must by south of Vanwyksdorp, and one of these is even west of Mossel Bay.  There are also two points north and east of Queenstown.

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Volume 1, Chapter 4:- Haworthia cooperi and Haworthia bolusii var. blackbeardiana.

One of the greatest difficulties in Haworthia is that of trying to recognise discrete species.  This translates into confusion which can be attributed to writers.  The initial source of confusion is without doubt the nature of the plants themselves, and this is not a problem confined to Haworthia.  The species are often not easily recognisable and discrete entities.  I abhor the statement that the genus is in a state of active evolution, but this does at least seem to convey a message that readers understand, even if it is somewhat hackneyed.  My observations on Haworthia are based on a definition of species as a system of living organisms which are continuous in time and space.  In my New Haworthia Handbook, I suggested that a primary problem lay in separating H. bolusii  and H. cooperi, and for the purposes of that work I largely discounted the secondary problems.  My first concern was to identify core areas and names as working postulates.  This did not mean I was unaware of lesser problems contained within the recognition of those two species.  The purpose of this paper is to present my current understanding of the problem.

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Volume 1, Chapter 5:- The Haworthias of Kaboega.

M B Bayer, 16 Hope Str., 8000 Cape Town.
Ian Ritchie, Box 44, 5850 Somerset East.

Kaboega (also spelt Kabouga) is now an assemblage of farms (De Plaat, Wilgerfontein, Vygeboomfontein, Klipfontein) nestled against the north slopes of the Zuurberg mountains, north of Kirkwood.  It is only about 15km away from Kirkwood as the crow flies, but 150km away by road.  Oudekraal is about 20km east and it is the source of Haworthia angustifolia var. baylissii and Gasteria baylissiana.  There are several records of Haworthia for the Kirkwood area, and von Poellnitz named H. stiemiei (Regarded as insufficiently known and not recognised by Col C.L. Scott or myself) from there.  He also identified plants from Kaboega and Uyepoort, both described as “at Kirkwood”) as H. altilinea var. denticulata (Haw.) V. Poelln.  These plants are all in the melange that I attribute to H. cooperi var. gordoniana (the subject of another long essay).  The Kaboega farm lies on the Kaboega river which drains an area of about 1m ha and then flows through the long Kaboegapoort into the Sundays River just north-west of Kirkwood.  The terrain is very broken with the sandstone Zuurbergs themselves dominating the southern boundary at about 850 to 950m above sea level.  The lowest point on the farm is at about 300m and the northern lesser shale or dolerite peaks reach 550 to 650m.  The vegetation on the sandstones is Dry Mountain Fynbos.  North of this is Karoo Valley Bushveld.  Thus Kaboega is at an ecotone of the karoid veld, Eastern Cape grassland and the Noorsveld (Euphorbia thicket) of the Jansenville area.

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Volume 2, Chapter 7:- Continuity of Haworthia on the Zuurberg

This problem of continuity is one I seem to have difficulty in conveying to my readers and listeners.  The difference between one species and another is a discontinuity and, if we believe in evolution, it is the resultant of a break-up of continuity in its ancestral parent species.  The “model” we have in our minds, is of progressive change from one recognisable entity to another by evolution.  Geographic distribution and re-distribution are key elements in this process.  But we do not seem accept this in the way we try to classify plants or interpret classifications.  Apart from recognising that change could be gradual and therefore manifest continuity, the change may be from a complex variable system which contains different levels of continuity within itself, and not from a simply understood uniform ‘ancestor’.

The result is that in a genus like Haworthia, which is by no means exceptional, the differences between species i.e. the discontinuities between “species”, may be very difficult to either recognise or rationalise.  It in fact becomes a statistical operation in which all the characters should be involved i.e. multiple variate analysis.  If all the characters could be measured and quantified it is statistically possible to subject all the data so obtained by one of several statistical methods to measure “distance” and “significant difference” between groups of plants which we want to ascertain are species, varieties or even just hybrids.  The process of “cladistics” is the use of a system to generate a branching “tree” of relationships base on characters which are also evaluated and loaded for chronological priority (primitive versus advanced).  In using such a mathematical package, it is pretended that the classification becomes “objective” and hence replicable to satisfy the scientific requirement.  In my estimation, the cladistic process assumes that a two-dimensional “tree” adequately represents the spatial and temporal changes of evolutionary processes, and it does not work.

Somebody might one day try to apply such methods to Haworthia and I say “Good luck to you”.  My experience of characterisation and variation in the biological systems I have experience of, and including Haworthia, suggest to me that sensible, practical, experienced “eye-balling” will prove the better bet.  Ultimately in Haworthia, I expect that technology and cladistic methods will be testable on the result of my classification.  This is not a conceited and arrogant claim.  It is a simple reflection on what classification actually is and what it is for.  Much of botanical classification has been done by amateurs with no, or minimal, specific training and qualification for that field at all eg. G.W.Reynolds, L.C.Leach, T.L.Salter, J.Lavranos, C.L.Scott, G.G.Smith, M.B.Bayer etc.  Their classifications form the basis of many scientific observations, sometimes by scientists who have no conception of the significance, or insignificance of the names they use or what they may actually mean.  The classifications may have little to recommend them except the fact that they appear to conform to the approved nomenclatural style.

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Volume 2, Chapter 10:- Small Hairy Things

(This article was published in Haworthiad 16:43, 2002.  Since then I have implemented name changes and I indicate these in bold type.)

When I have written about Haworthia, I have generally taken as a subject a particular species, in the sense that people regard a species as a kind of thing universally and unmistakably recognisable.  It is not always easy to find such things in the lower life forms, and this is also true for the sub‑genus Haworthia.  Here I am just writing about a few odd plants, without going into the many ramifications that are actually involved.

I am also using the classification, and system, rationalised and explained as best I could in my book “Haworthia Revisited” (1999).  Since that was written, I have been on many more exploratory journeys and have learnt a lot more.  Much of this new information has been published in “Haworthia Update Vol.1”.  There are several essays there, one devoted to the Baviaanskloof and one to the northern Zuurberg (Kaboega).  I explain that the name H. gracilis is probably redundant (I limit its use to H. cooperi var  gracilis as it occurs at Helspoort, Grahamstown. It may actually be better to regard most of the Baviaanskloof populations all as one species ‑ variants of a greater species that will be H. cooperi. I will implement the necessary name changes in another paper (This was done in, and the article is copied, in a preceding essay).

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Volume 4, Chapter 10:- Post-closure

This note is not strictly after closure because Cameron MacMaster (Cameron knows the plants, especially the bulbs, of the E Cape intimately and was instrumental in the re-location of H. marumiana many years ago.) sent me a picture (Fig.1) of a Haworthia from Glen Avon Falls east of Somerset East some time ago and this has been a lure to me ever since I saw vdW287(PRE).  It should be noted that this specimen is cited, I must note a sentiment of considerable reservation which was not conveyed by the rigidity of print, in Haworthia Revisited (p.67) under H. decipiens var minor… “3225 (Somerset East): in valley behind Bosberg (-DA), van der Westhuizen 287 (PRE).”  I have visited the Bosberg in a weak attempt to locate such a plant after a fruitless attempt to determine who and where the collector was and is.  The area is intimidating in its vastness as are so many of the hills and mountains of the Cape and with so much still to explore, this area has not been a priority.  In fact I have just recognized that while I wrote Revisited in response to pressure, my subsequent exploration has been to seek validation for my own comfort rather than to try and impress anyone.  This recent visit to the Bosberg is only because an odd opportunity arose for me to revisit my friends (Ian and Sandi Ritchie) on Kaboega, coupled with interest from a distant botanist acquaintance in Prof. Richard Cowling.  Prof. Cowlingis one of those rare botanists from whom I have really learned something to think about rather than just to remember.  I had contacted him because in my correspondence with Jan Vlok about the vegetation of the Mossel Bay area, he had copied responses to Prof. Cowling.  The outcome was that I was introduced to Dr Syd Ramdhani who is now contracted under Cowling to study the biogeography of Bulbine as a post-doctoral task.  Dr Ramdhani studied Kniphofia and works in the molecular-biology laboratory of Rhodes University managed by Dr Nigel Barker.  Dr Ramdhani is now also tasked and occupied with a feasibility study of Haworthia as a target group for extended biogeographical research where H. cooperi has been suggested by me as a possible fruitful area of interest.  (These botanists have been warned not to be influenced by Bayer!)   So I have been aware that the MacMaster plant could signify a replicate of the Kaboega/Helspoort/Plutos Vale/Baviaanskloof/ complexes which suggest that H. cooperi and H. cymbiformis may be one species.  My visit to Glen Avon Falls was then added to the familiarization of Dr Ramdhani with Haworthia on Kaboega.

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Volume 6, Chapter 3:- Still more about Haworthia on Kaboega

Part 1.
Kaboega is a set of farms on the northeast of the Zuurberg Mountain range, north of Kirkwood and off the Addo National Park. I wrote about the haworthias that occur there in Haworthia Update Vol.1. There is also an article in Aloe 40:10 (2003) in which there is a discussion of the variation of those haworthias as related to geology and topography. My wife and I frequently visit Kaboega to renew relationships with Ian and Sandy Ritchie who live there. Each time we go we try to explore some different area. We generally end-up with something that is notably new.
There is a real problem in trying to reconcile the populations we see with the names that are available and the way in which I have tried to formalize them myself. The problem is that Kaboega seems to occupy some sort of central and neutral position and it is by no means easy to arrive at any clean rational classification. Three of my species are involved, and I have to say they are “mine” because other authors are in strong disagreement. The three species I see are H. cymbiformis, H. cooperi, and H. aristata. It is firstly necessary to explain that I interpret the name H. aristata in Haworthia Revisited quite differently from what I might have done earlier; and quite differently from other authors who have simply taken the easy route and associated the name with Little Karoo elements for which I use the name H. mucronata. My interpretation of the name will be quite evident from my writings and from the pictures submitted with this article. The use of the name H. cymbiformis with respect to Kaboega is a major problem for someone like myself who is firmly convinced that geographical relationships are foremost in the recognition of species as living systems. On Kaboega, plants that look like H. cymbiformis seem to proceed out of a complex that is surely H. cooperi. If one properly considers all the populations that I ascribe to H. aristata one is seriously confronted with the reality that it is also a geographic variant of H. cooperi.

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Volume 6, Chapter 7:- Taking Haworthia cooperi further – Kliprivier.

It is very difficult to write about particular plants when one has to contend with the fact that one is not sure what Latin names may mean to the reader.  I wrote a piece with closure in mind and thought I would send it to a non-taxonomist botanist whom I think is a tribute to the profession.  Extracts from his response are “I am an ardent supporter of your species concept and couldn’t agree more strongly with your statement that without variation, there would be no evolution…I do agree that the pervasive species concepts force us to ignore the most interesting and productive research avenue: documenting and understanding variation in the field.”

It is worth considering what he has said about “pervasive species concepts” and just what he might mean when he says they force us to ignore documentation and understanding of variation in the field.  It seems to me that the converse is the truth.  Failure to properly understand and document variation has contributed to the pervasiveness of false concepts which fly in the face of science.  I keep harping away at this question of lack of definition, because it is not apparent to me that any reader appreciates my point of view.  To my mind a key issue is made of nomenclature and the rules that govern it, and very little attention at all is given to whether these Latin names help our understanding at all. I feel that my contribution contributes mostly to documentation of variation and that I cannot do much in respect of understanding.  This short article should explain why.

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Kaboega is located in the Zuurberg Mountains north of Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. Read more about this in Haworthia Update Volume 1, Chapter 5:- The Haworthias of Kaboega. There are a mind-boggling array of Haworthia populations here in an area considered to be the meeting point of several vegetation biomes. There is much exposed rock, and the soil is very skeletal, composed of three major groups: sandstone, mudstone, and glacial deposits. These pictures are of a Haworthia cooperi variant that occurs high up on sandstone. I went to this spot because researchers had sent me a picture of a cycad festooned with Haworthia. I did not get to the exact spot but have seen the way it forms hanging bundles in other situations.

Haworthia glauca!! can also be found here. On Kaboega these plants often have a very close resemblance to H. coarctata and it is no co-incidence that the distributions of these two species complement each other. An essential element of species recognition is their juxtaposition and if they occur in very close association or not. Darwin said as much.

I visited four populations of this greenish cooperi. One can find plants like this from east of Grahamstown right through to the Little Karoo. Here they are on Dwyka (glacial) skeletal soil.

These next are in the shales low down in the valley on Kaboega – I name it H. aristata. It is very common in the area but complements H. cooperi while there are populations that are neither. Populations cannot be treated in isolation and there is a distinct possibility/probability that I have been too generous with species. The attempts to find answers via DNA sequencing should make the vendors of that technology thoroughly ashamed.

More of these green things. I would guess that these would class as the simple progenitors of cymbiformis and cooperi. Perhaps even of mucronata?

This is Haworthiopsis sordida that does not occur, as far as I know, north of this. H. nigra also occurs here at it’s most southern at this longitude. Altogether it is quite a complex network of distribution patterns that relate to greater plant geography.

From another population as variants on a theme. have seen about 30 such just on this small mountain area and it just suggests what is still unseen on the length and breadth.

Not a great diagram but a way to appreciate the drammatic choreography of plant distribution and how it impacts on classification. Without it Haworthia names make no sense other than as imagined and fantasized. Cooperi and cymbiformis occur as intertwined species to the east and south. In the south they extend westwards to get lost in H. mucronata. Cymbiformis as an independent species does not enter Kaboega except as an observable variant of H. cooperi. The cooperi gets lost westwards as variants of H. decipiens. Perhaps close northwards as H. aristata. H. glauca does cross the Zuurberg but is here confused with H. coarctata that may occur in recognosable form on the eastern tip. Angustifolia is on the eastern end too but does not enter Kaboega. Neither do H. monticola or H. zantneriana from the west. This is also closely tied to the intrigue of winter vs summer rainfall and still further to the massive geological changes of the very recent..

k map