Haworthia Revisited – 22. Haworthia monticola

22. Haworthia monticola Fourc., Trans.Roy.Soc.S.Afr. 21:78(1937).  Scott :57(1985).  Type: Cape, George and Uniondale districts, Fourcade 2498 (K):  H. divergens Bayer :113(1976).  Bayer :38(1982).  Type: CAPE‑3322 (Oudtshoorn): Molen River (‑DD), Bayer 175 (NBG).

monticola: mountain dwelling.

Rosette stemless, proliferous, 2-4cm φ. Leaves 30-40, elongate, lanceolate, 2-6cm long, tips incurving, margins and keel with small spines, upper surfaces often with pellucid spots.  Inflorescence slender, to 30cm.  Flowers sparse, white.

1982 – The name of this species [i.e. divergens] is derived from its probable relationship with H. variegata and H. angustifolia.  It occurs in the Outeniqua mountains between Oudtshoorn and Willowmore and is separated from H. variegata, which it closely resembles, by the Langeberg mountains, the Gouritz River Valley and the intercession of H. chloracantha.  It is separated from H. angustifolia by a distance of about 160km.  The leaf tips tend to curve inwards and the marginal spines are more conspicuous than in related species.  Towards Uniondale and Willowmore the species is still strongly variegated but becomes smaller.  Beyond Willowmore there is a suggestion that it may intergrade with H. zantneriana.

1999 – Fourcade’s argument that Baker in Flora Capensis of 1880, was describing this species in mistake for Haworth’s H. angustifolia, is weak in the extreme.  His reference to translucence in the lower leaf area is nonsensical and is simply a consequence of submergence which occurs in most species when so growing.  There is no doubt from his specimens that he was dealing with a different species, and why he should have decided to draw Baker’s, or even Schultes earlier description into doubt is odd.  They were both based on Haworth’s species and probably on Salm-Dyck’s illustration.  This is why I applied a new name viz. H. divergens.  However, if it is argued that Fourcade’s species has no connection to Baker, and is based on and typified by different material (Fourcade’s own specimens), then I presume his name should stand.

Affinities between this species and H. angustifolia are often cited.  However, there is a problem of distribution and geographical co-herence.  It is far more probable that the connection of the two species is through H. zantneriana and the problem can only be fully understood through a good knowledge of the mountain ranges of the southern Cape.  There are very few collections of H. monticola east of Willowmore.  The furthest is at Sandvlakte in the Baviaanskloof where the plants have fairly turgid leaves with some translucence.  This is however, in the southern mountains of the Baviaanskloof and thus cannot connect to H. zantneriana.  If it did prove continuous with that species it would have to be east of the Perdepoort to the north of Willowmore.  There is a collection of P.V. Bruyns (6316) from that area which may prove to be this missing link.  In fact the more recent collection also by Bruyns (7071) cited under H. zantneriana var. minor, is from the specified area and seems to confirm the continuity of the two taxa.  A collection by J.D. Venter from the Witberg east of Willowmore, may do the same.  Here the plants are less denticulate, very spotted and rather softer than usual for the species.  There does not seem to be any likelihood that there is a direct connection with H. angustifolia across the barrier of the Groot River Valley.  The Oudekraal collections of that species (its var. baylissii) do allow suggestion of such an affinity.

a. var.monticola .
The typical variety is very similar in appearance to H. variegata with mottling of the leaf surfaces.  Around Uniondale these markings are less conspicuous and the leaves are blackish.  Southeast of Willowmore the leaves are almost spineless and the plants are very mottled.

Distribution: 3322 (Oudtshoorn): 13km N. Klaarstroom (-BC), Bruyns 2255 (NBG); Molen River (‑DD), Bayer 175 (NBG), Smith 2895 (NBG); Erfpacht (-DD), Smith 5809 (NBG).   3323 (Willowmore): Leeukloof (-AB), Stayner in KG117/62 (NBG), Venter 91/139 (NBG); Boesmanspoortberg (-AB), Bruyns 6316 (BOL); Perdepoort (-AB), Branch 461 (NBG); Georgida (-AD), Bayer 3363 (NBG); Witberg (-BC), Venter 92/102 (NBG); S. Willowmore (-BC), Stayner in KG644/61 (NBG); Uniondale (-CA), Stayner in KG242/70 (NBG); Langkloof (-CA), Taute in NBG1282/26 (NBG); 9km W. Uniondale (-CA), Fourcade 3606 (PRE); E. Uniondale (-CA), Bayer 3384 (NBG); NE. Uniondale (-CA), Smith 3664, 3665 (NBG); Nuwekloof (-DA), Bruyns 1655 (NBG).  3324(Steytlerville): Bosrugpad, Sandvlakte (-CA), Boycott in NBG144868; Dam se Drif (-CA), Bruyns 1844 (NBG).

Inadequately located: Uniondale, Herre 5686 (BOL); Oudtshoorn, Taylor 31 (BOL).

b. var. asema var.nov. 
Type: CAPE-3321 (Ladismith): Calitzdorp, Besemkop (-DA), J.D. Venter 12 (NBG, Holo.).

asema: without distinguishing marks.

Leaves smoother, more turgid, generally shorter, more uniformly grey-green, flowering very much earlier.  (A var. monticola radicibus crassioribus et foliis brevioribus obesioribus griseo-viridibus differt).

This variety is widely separated from the main body of the species and is known at two localities northeast of Calitzdorp.  It does not have clear relationships with H. monticola nor with any other species.  The root system is less branching, the roots much more succulent, it flowers very much earlier and the off-sets are very quickly free of the mother plant.  It may be the species noted by Von Poellnitz as H. angustifolia from Calitzdorp (also commented on under H. pulchella).  It is not given species status simply because it is inadequately known and there is no better information relating it to other species.

Distribution: 3321 (Ladismith): Calitzdorp, Besemkop (-DA), J.D. Venter 12 (NBG); Kruisrivier (-BC), Venter 90/57 (NBG).