Haworthia Updates Vol. 5 – Table of Contents

Volume 5, Chapter 1:- Winding down on Haworthia

During the last half of 2008 I decided that I would make a last concerted effort to try and further clarify the uncertainty of classification of these plants.  This involves the usual introspection, retrospection and reflection.  Where are we now and what do we understand?   I have had considerable correspondence and interchange of ideas with many enthusiasts.  There is a huge disparity between what I write and what other authors do and there are definitely massive misunderstandings.  The one reason is the obvious one that we each create our own realities and can only interpret the world around us in terms of our own experience and individual capacities.  The second reason is that there are flaws in the entire information system in which we operate.

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Volume 5, Chapter 2:- Haworthia Reality Check

Clichés may often fall into the category of often repeated untruths that come to be believed. One I have used too often is … ”The problem is…”, without ever seemingly being to explain what it actually was. I studied Oxalis and it seemed that where there was an awful amount of detail to explain difference, all this detail simply obscured the fact of similarity.  So what I did is “reverse engineer” the process and apply the principle to Haworthia where I have for so long tried fruitlessly to explain that we were all explaining and accepting that there was difference based on detail.

I made some progress in finding facts to support this contention in the approximate 40 populations of Haworthia in the Zuurberg that seem to suggest that plants looking as different as H. cooperi and H. cymbiformis may be the same species. However, this was not very convincing.

Recently I had reason to explore more populations in the arena of a larger problem in H. mirabilis where I may be considering as many as 400 populations or many more.   Illustrated by the following sample pictures:- … It is now my contention that different as all these single plants appear to be, they are in fact members of one species. The inference is drawn from observations of approximately 150 populations occurring in a geographically coherent pattern in the restricted area between Worcester and Riversdale and southward to the coast. The inference is strengthened by the observations of similar continual intergradation of variation in similar sets of populations throughout the distribution range of the genus.

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Volume 5, Chapter 3:- Haworthia Deglamorized. A Recapitulation.

Steven Hammer, in his inimitable style, put a very fresh face on Haworthia in CSJl 80:140 (2008). He drew attention to the wonder of the plants in cultivation for the collector, contrasted to a reality of unglamorous scruffiness in the field as per the lens and pen of Bayer. It has fallen to my lot as a very unwilling taxonomist to reduce the fascination these plants have for me, and for so many others, to the mundane vortex of labels, their proliferation and continual amendment.  he fact is whether on a label or on the tongue, a name is a part of any language we use to talk to each other; but we are not learning anything from a well-documented history and in Haworthia seem to remain lost in a maze.

The unhappy truth for Haworthia is that by the time von Poellnitz in Germany, G.G.Smith in South Africa, F. Resende in Portugal, A.J.A. Uitewaal in Holland,  W.Triebner in Namibia, J.W.Dodson and J.R.Brown in USA had either left or abandoned the scene, there were any number of names that meant very little more than the Latin they were written in.  J.R. Brown presented a talk, A brief review of the Genus Haworthia, to the Los Angeles Cactus and Succulent Society that was published in the Cactus and Succulent Journal of America 29:125-135 (1957).  He noted the number of species and varietal names at 160 and 370 (!) respectively, arranged in 20 sections.

While J.R. Brown was winding down (his last note on Haworthia was published in 1970), I was busy trying to make sense of a two large files that seemed to form the body of a manuscript by G.G.Smith for which Mrs. M. Courtenay-Latimer had drafted a title… “A monograph of the genus Haworthia.”  This manuscript comprised a collection of all current species descriptions arranged in the purported twenty sections of Berger and accompanied by many illustrations from the original publications, as well as by many of Smith’s own photographs and those of H.G.Fourcade. We know that Smith retired in a huff, but was there really good reason for his exit?

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Volume 5, Chapter 4:- Haworthia retusa – part 1

It has long been my stated contention that H. turgida is in fact a rock face ecotype as opposed to the solitary flat growing H. retusa.  Thus one should expect the multiplicity of forms that are found between, and consequently superfluous to say within each, these two primary types. There are problems outside of this and I will deal with those in the Chapter Haworthia enigma.  Here I am simply going to present pictures representing plants in nine populations of the species.  Most of these populations are of the “typical” solitary form and they all demonstrate variation to greater to lesser degree. Perhaps some special mention should be made of the element H. mutica var. nigra.  I have written at length about this and in doing so strayed widely into H. magnifica and its var. atrofusca (both falling now under H. mirabilis). This is because it is quite certain that there is an element of interaction in the field between the prime elements H. retusa and H. mirabilis  that this summation is intended to expose. The first known H. mutica var nigra from Kransriviermond is possibly the product of such interaction, whereas all the subsequent collections from northwards and westwards are now perceived by me to be variants of H. retusa and H. retusa ’turgida’ (to use a more informal and flexible way of communicating).

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Volume 5, Chapter 4:- Haworthia retusa – part 2

2. MBB7754 H. retusa ‘turgida’. Brakkekuil.  What is most significant about this population is its whereabouts that highlights the overwhelming importance of distribution and geography. The drainage systems (or parts of them) of the Southern Cape drain southwards from the mountains to the sea e.g. Gouritz, Goukou, Duiwenhoks and Lower Breede. These are important especially when it comes to the habitats in the way of exposed rock and steep faces that favour plants requiring skeletal soils. Brakkekuil is on the Slang River that drains southwestwards from near Heidelberg to flow into the Breede River near Malgas. H. retusa ‘turgida’ has not been reported for this entire river system before, while it is present on the Breede River and even westwards at Bredasdorp. So the Brakkekuil population is significant and also significantly different. The plants are neither strictly solitary nor greatly clump-forming and it is not really surprising as this mirrors what happens with H. cooperi in the Eastern Cape in situations that are neither fully cliff face nor plain. The Brakkekuil plants are on the surface of a rocky shale knoll with plants enduring direct exposure to northwestern sun as well as obtaining refuge in the more vegetated and protected slightly southern aspect. It is quite difficult to make reference of individual plants to Latin names, in that variation is already ensconced in the existing system viz. ‘longibracteata’. I gladly concede that all the old names, as Rowley has suggested, can be paraded out again and made use of. In fact I have also said that this is how the contribution of Breuer and Hayashi can be fruitfully used. For my reality this population is H. retusa ‘turgida’ Slangrivier. It is quite the most variable population of the ‘turgida’ side of H. retusa that I have ever seen and there are plants that resemble the more sandstone associated variants (‘caespitosa’) at, say, Tradouw Pass as well as individuals that compare with some of the other populations I will cover from the ferricrete inselbergs. Another very significant observation is the similarity of some plants to those that can be found in H. mirabilis ‘paradoxa’ that is not very far away to the southeast at Vermaaklikheid. There is no doubt that if a full and real understanding of natural systems is to be found it will lie in the realization that even my suggestion favouring a “super species concept” may be conservative. It is actually curious how my treatment of that has been met by readers who have been kind and considerate enough to communicate with me on the issue. The ‘super species” proposal actually comes from Prof Canio Vosa. It is and was not, any attempt to confound anyone or obfuscate the issue. Prof. Vosa is directly addressing the issue that we have a classification that is a sorry marriage of scientist and layman user groups – both ignorant of the full extent of the field situation.

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Volume 5, Chapter 5:- Haworthia mirabilis

I trust that it is clear by now that I consider H. magnifica, H, maraisii, and H. heidelbergensis to be essentially the same one species and emphasize that it is really a self-evident truth that species are complex systems and not simply a randomly occurring set of similar looking things.  In a recent manuscript submitted to Haworthiad, I wrote about new finds elaborating this point of view.  The essence of this chapter is to discuss exploration focused on clarifying the position in the eastern area between Riversdale and the very problematic H. pygmaea “squadron” that I have also discussed at length.  Prior to the trip I had an ongoing communication with Gerhard Marx and we agreed that H. ‘splendens’ was in fact better fitted in H. mirabilis, the major obstacle for me being the fact that there was no field record nearer than Riversdale itself to substantiate such a view.  I do, however, want to here also record two further populations east of the Breede River and other populations of H. mirabilis west of the Breede and south of anything previously noted.

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Volume 5, Chapter 6:- Haworthia floribunda

Again this piece is written against the background of a detailed discussion in Haworthia UpdateVol. 2.   Again I am not able to say the situation is full comprehensible and neither do I want to encourage the daffy view that nature is just too much for us all.  It is really curious that this species is woven into the fabric of H. mirabilis and also into that of H. chloracantha, H. parksiana and H. variegata.  New finds have not clarified the picture so much as added another dimension to an extraordinary display.  Not that H. floribunda is a spectacular species.  In the field it can be extraordinarily cryptic and obscure while in cultivation it is an unlikely favourite.  I do not want to repeat what I have already written while I hope that this will not contradict that either.  H. floribunda seems to occupy a clear niche along the base of the mountains between Albertinia in the east and Swellendam in the west.  It occurs as discrete from any other species although hybrids with both H. retusa and H. mirabilis do occur.  South and west of Heidelberg it seems to lose its identity within H. mirabilis and then emerges briefly in a limited area near the Potberg in the southwest in a ‘mirabilis’ context as well as in H. variegata context.  At Klipfontein farm at the western end of the Potberg it seems to be recognizable in relatively the same form as the very original description.  But let us look at new information.

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Volume 5, Chapter 7:- Haworthia minima

There is not much to write about this less glamorous of plants.  It is one of the Robustipedunculares.  It is very widely distributed and even occurs north of the Langeberg Mountains in the Little Karoo – as does its sister species H. pumila.  The pictures cover a huge range of variants from DeMond in the southwestern area to Riversdale.  I found them all fascinating.  Mostly so perhaps the very few large globose plants we saw at Kleinberg near Malgas (Diepkloof).  But the plants at Koppies are really interesting because they were overlooked for so long.  Koppies is the second known home of H. serrata (now H. rossouwii) and we came to know it also as a refuge for a small population of H. marginata.  It was while we were investigating this that Hennie van Deventer casually pointed to plants of H. attenuata var caespitosa in his garden and said they were also on the farm.   Because of our surprise and of course doubt, he took us to show the plants that he said he had not looked at nor thought of for 20 years – and there they were.  A very small population of large dark coloured plants.

Also interesting were the very small solitary plants on the farm Sandfontein in the Slang River Valley.  At Klipheuwel marginal to the coastal calcretes we also came across the species.  Initially we saw only two plants while searching for ‘retusa-like’ plants.  Failing to find anything else in a very severly grazed field we thought we would return to commiserate with the few H. minima we saw  and enjoy the ambience we always feel in the presence of Haworthia.  One can barely explain how cryptic these plants are and how easily they avoid detection.  We found another 40 plants in the same area abut 10m diameter where we had found but two a short while earlier.

I found it very curious that in our very extensive exploration of the area east of Riversdale, that we saw neither H. minima nor H. marginataGasteria was also conspicuous by its absence and I remark on this because I do not think that taxonomy can remotely afford to ignore fundamental patterns in the general environment.

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Volume 5, Chapter 8:- An extension of H. rossouwii

What always comes to mind as I travel through the countryside is the realization of just how much there is to explore.  It takes only an hour of driving from Cape Town to get to the start of Haworthia habitats from any of the three main routes inland.  The roads do not always take in the best routes in respect of suitable or inviting habitats to explore, and besides there is the question of landownership and permission for access.  In recent months my wife and I decided to really make an issue of new exploration and investing time and energy in contacting landowners and looking at places that we have ignored before because of access difficulties.  The result has been a massive set of new finds in respect of populations not previously known to us.  Having other interests such as in Drosanthemum and chameleons has also led us into places we might not have otherwise ventured.

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Volume 5, Chapter 9:- More on H. floribunda and H. mirabilis

In a recent set of articles (published by the Haworthia Society as??) I wrote the following in connection with H. floribunda… “MBB7738 H. floribunda ‘major’. Swellendam:  These plants were in fact small when first collected and in cultivation grew so large that I coined the name ‘major’ for them.  They do still exist in a very small and disturbed area close to gum trees but curiously in moss free of leaf litter.  I did also find them a little further away in a more grassy area where they are/were more typically small and dark coloured.  I should note that I also recorded this ’dentata’-like version within the Bontebok Park close to where H. mirabilis occurs and I am still committed to again finding that population  in the light of this new material”.

In connection with H. mirabilis, I wrote…”The Dankbaar plants are small versions of this and of course tie up with both older and newer (MBB7704) records for the Bontebok National Park.   2. MBB7743 H. mirabilis. Bontebok Park: Having written that, we did in fact locate still another population and of course it looked different as the area where it occurs had been recently burned and being on a northwest aspect the plants were very exposed and even more cryptic than usual”.

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Volume 5, Chapter 10:- Haworthia ‘enigma’ and H. mutica var nigra.

7778 H. mirabilis. Komserante 4900

If the name “H.enigma” applies to the plant (or plants) from east of Riversdale at Komserante, it is a name that I really do not advise to be taken seriously from a botanical point of view.  It is useful at population level and to demonstrate the nature of classification difficulties but it is a minor problem in so far as those difficulties extend.  The plants were first shown to me by J. Dekenah on the same day that he also showed me ”H. magnifica” in the Nature Reserve just south of Riversdale that is less than 3km away. My impression then was that it was the same element even if it did look a bit different. The plants are quite large (to 70mm diameter), fairly tubercled and often with lines in the upper retused area of the leaf face.  While I originally classified “H. maraisii” under “H. magnifica”, I later separated them because it seemed so incongruous to include all the variants of the western “H. maraisii” with the few populations of “H. magnifica” then known.  Also, as Essie Esterhuizen pointed out, “H atrofusca” as a variant of “H. magnifica”, seemed to be more dominant than had been realized.  There were several other complications largely due to ignorance. Since my revision I have done so much more exploration and turned up so much new material that I have been forced to the conclusion that there is really one main element involved and that is H. mirabilis. This is where I believe the Komserante plants belong and the difference from the Nature Reserve population is due to a degree of infusion of H. retusa.

I revisited the site with Kobus Venter many years ago but did not look at a reported second population higher up the hill, taking it to be a little different based on plants I saw in Kobus’ collection. What was on my mind while we were recently exploring the area further east to examine the possible connection of H. mirabilis “magnifica” to “splendens” (and which we confirmed), was the fact I had never seen Kobus’ plants from Kruis Rivier northeast of Riversdale other than in Kobus’ collection. The plants I saw were also generally more robust than “H. magnifica” and more evenly tubercled. Kobus kindly took me to that Kruis River locality and much to my surprise the plants were in flower late October (see JDV92/65 Figs1). This is quite wrong for H. mirabilis, which is essentially a summer flowering species. I later went again to explore Komserante more thoroughly and to look at both the “magnifica” populations to which I believe the name “H. enigma” has been applied.  he populations are in fact no more than 75m apart and cannot be considered to be genetically discrete at all (see MBB7778 Figs 2, and MBB7779 Figs 3). While it is true that the habitats are slightly different, this is reflected in the plants that at the upper slope of the hillside are vegetatively more robust and even clump forming, while those lower down in a bushier grassier habitat tend to be solitary and more withdrawn into the soil. These plants flower in summer and it is evident to me that there must have been some genetic exchange with H. retusa that grows approximately 200m away on the same hillside.

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Volume 5, Chapter 11:- What is Haworthia schoemanii?

Among a plethora of new names, are two really interesting items.

Firstly there is a really useful formalization of a host of old names by Gordon Rowley.  This is something that I understood to be taken as unwritten truth and logic.  While so sensible and practical it almost widens the gulf between the ordinary way we use names to communicate, and the unreal world of formal taxonomy.  I will just give the one example to demonstrate this viz.  H. coarctata subsp. coarctata, var. grandicula ‘Baccata’, or H. coarctata subsp. coarctata ‘Grandicula’ ‘Baccata’  This is a probable botanical truth where in the end there is a population (yet to be formally identified) in which all the plants despite any variability are ‘grandicula’ and something in cultivation (and not wholly improbably in some similar incidences, two quite different clones) that on the available evidence seems to have been drawn from the same population, which is ‘baccata’.

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Volume 5, Chapter 12:- More on Haworthia venosa ‘granulata’.

I wrote “What is Haworthia schoemanii? in reference to the statements I have made that I did not want to write any more. But also kind of intimating that really we need to find some sense in all this “namenklutter”, while at the same time I am drifting away from the community that controls it and isolated from that which generates most of it. My note was about the names ‘schoemanii’ and ‘crausii’; and their perceived improbable existence as biological systems.  This is then just a very short note to elaborate on a record of mine of H. venosa subsp. granulata that I gave as from Patatsriver Road. This was partly because I did not want to advertise too openly where the site was and because I was not even sure of the farm name.  Nowadays, while I fully appreciate there are some not very nice people who do and will abuse the situation; I do not believe there is any merit whatsoever in secrecy. It seems to me that this simply exacerbates the whole situation just as does the insistence that conservation laws that so effectively exclude people from participation, contribute to conservation.

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Volume 5, Chapter 13:- A February 2009 Miscellany

7807 H.minima.  Swartrug, SE Heidelberg. 002

This chapter is based on recent field exploration and embroiders around many aspects of Haworthia species discussed in earlier chapters.  What should be striking is that new populations follow the very predictable geographic pattern that all my earlier exploration has exposed and in my estimation confirm in every way what I consider a sound and satisfactory taxonomic solution and help explain its limitations.

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Volume 5, Chapter 14:- Haworthia jakubii – another new species?

Alsterworthia produced a special edition (No.7) in 2004 to publish new species and combinations subsequent to the publication of Haworthia Revisited.  I was given a copy because of my own contributions in respect of primarily new combinations.  I had the previous year done some exploration along the Duiwenhoks River south of Heidelberg and found several Haworthia populations notably MBB7227 Witheuwel and MBB7229 Somona. I discussed these in Chapter 6 of my Update Vol 2. dealing with the complexity of the element H. retusa (mutica) var. nigra and the problematic nature of H. mirabilis as it occurs around and south of Heidelberg.  So when I saw the picture of H. jakubii I merely glanced at the description to see the words Duiwenhoks River to think this was another of those weird armchair products to befuddle the enthusiast and add another name from an endless production belt.  There was nothing about the illustration that suggested anything new to me so it is really fascinating to now only read what the author had to say “ When the author first saw them, he thought they were something new because of their features”.  This is a very subjective statement and I have no doubt that the author could be misled into thinking that other plants from the same population could also be “something new”.  Why “something new” should be allied to a Latin binomial is intrinsic to “namenklutter” and the disrepute into which taxonomy has fallen.

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Volume 5, Chapter 15:- A view of Haworthia marumiana ‘dimorpha’

Gerhard Marx’ article in respect of H. marumiana and its associations is very welcome as he is one of the very few persons who make any constructive and useful observations that do not further tarnish the image of plant classification. But the article does require a response from me because it challenges my own observations and to a degree I think it misrepresents my decision making. Furthermore it suggests some kind of rift in which it is possible to make a better decision by looking more closely at less.  What is this truth that has no respect for us humans? Gerhard writes his taxonomic priority list in which geographic distribution is placed last and then goes on to suggest that the flower has been too often ignored. This is simply not true and ironically this contention may be why we are in the situation we are in. Darwin stated that geographic distribution was the primary key to understanding species and if one looks at classification problems, in Haworthia at least, they can often be shown to weak decisions based on detail and superficial difference. This is despite the classic tenet of experienced taxonomists who were known to state “look for similarities rather than for differences”.  Gerhard perforce has to evade the very problem he describes relating to the time and effort needed to make a meaningful study of all this floral detail. Gerhard goes on to examine differences between ‘archeri’ and ‘marumiana’, but he does not say what specimens from what populations he uses to generate the comparisons he makes.

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Volume 5, Chapter 16:- Can Haworthia teach us anything?

My experience with Haworthia dates back to my childhood and on to nearly 70 years of observation.  However, my interest was only able to properly manifest when I began work at the Karoo Botanic Garden in 1969 and it has since been through many phases.  I wrote a formal taxonomic revision of the genus in 1999 and have spent a good bit of the last nine years adding to and verifying what I wrote.  Haworthia has always been regarded as a problem child of botany to be avoided by professional taxonomists for various reasons including an apparent phobia of the many amateur collectors peering over the shoulder while at work.  This has puzzled me because it seemed to me that if the need for good classification and identification was so strong there was an obligation on botany to provide the service.  So my involvement has been largely by default.  I was trained in an agricultural and entomological tradition with a totally different and unsophisticated approach to things like taxonomy, systematics and nomenclature.  In the infant science that agriculture then was in South Africa, I can barely claim that my MSc is much more than an indication that I tried to learn something beyond normal schooling. While trained as an agricultural entomologist, my leaning was to plants and I eventually came to the Karoo garden to do what I liked best viz. exploring plants.  Unfortunately the route is via identification and names and so I have walked a long road through the minefield that this is.  Was this only in respect of Haworthia?  No!  This is a persistent misconception.  Haworthia is only different because it has attracted such close and sustained amateur interest by so many for so long.  I experienced failing classification in many other genera.  To be fair I think the real reason is the lack of importance attached to the whole function of plant classification.  It even seems as if many modern botanists pursue the study of plant relationship under the guise of systematics that is not committed to providing formal names and identifications.

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Volume 5, Chapter 17:- New populations of Haworthia chloracantha, Haworthia parksiana and Haworthia kingiana

In Chapter 1 of  Haworthia Update Vol. 2, I discussed H. chloracantha and H. parksiana in the context of H. floribunda.  Fig. 8 in that publication is labelled “North of Herbertsdale” when in fact it is MBB7425 from the Wolwedans Dam north of Great Brak (see fig.1).  This was deliberate and not seriously misleading as the plants from the two respective populations are virtually identical.  The correct images for that “north of Herbertsdale” are in Haworthia Revisited and labelled JDV87/80 and 97/138.

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Volume 5, Acknowledgements

In some cases acknowledgement has already been made in respect of some of the populations discussed in these chapters.  New acknowledgements are Mr. Artho Saayman of Platkop, Mr. and Mrs. Wilhelm Zietsman of Kruis Rivier, Mr and Mrs. Coetzee Uys of Morning Star, Messrs Chris and Pieter van Deventer of Kransriviermond, Johan Groenewald of Buffeljags, Clive and Duprecia Stramrood of Kadies Landing, the Uys brothers  of Sandfontein and Meerlus, the Steenkamps of Appelbos,  Annatjie and Jaap Viljoen of Swellendam, Hector Odendaal of Dankbaar, Ryno Stander of KomseRandte, Tineke Kraaij and Carli Venter of Bontebok National Park, Anne Lise Vlok and Rhet Hisemann of W Cape Nature Conservation Board, Stiaan Conradie of Lower Breede Conservancy.  Others such as to Mr. and Mrs. Anna and Arno Steenkamp of Anna’s Farm (Oudekraalkop) for their generosity and hospitality, Mr. and Mrs. Hennie van Deventer of Koppies, Mr. Dirk Papendorp of Voorstekop and Uitvlugt,  Mr.  Uys Willemse of Goedverwagting, need repeating.  We are most grateful to Dr. Paul Taylor for an albeit failed excursion to the west bank of the Duiwenhoks River and similarly to Nico DeJager of Victoriasdale for an interesting but fruitless search of the Wankoe Randte and a little more success on Klipheuwel, Mr. H. Eksteen of Grootkloof and Mr.  M. Dippenaar of Diptka for so kindly allowing us access to their properties.  There are many other landowners and people we contacted with less significance in respect of places actually visited or in terms of plants found but no less in respect of  the universal kindness and helpfulness of landowners.

There are many other peripheral and significant contributions from people (not necessarily agreeing with what I say nor how) such as Prof. Richard Cowling, Dr. Syd Rhamdani, Diederik van den Abbeele and even people who have no connection to Haworthia, but who share the same passion for nature and for plants … Mrs. Hettie Conradie of Worcester who makes us feel as though it is we who own her home and Mrs. Anso LeRoux who may both be housewives, but biologists by nature.  Gordon Rowley has demonstrated the value of humour in a field where there seems naught else to do but tear hair out.  Etwin Aslander in his quiet and effective way has been a great friend.

Then there is Gerhard Marx, whose dogged refusal to blindly accept anything at face value, has been most helpful in so many respects.  Kobus Venter has always been a great friend and mentor in relation to the ways of the world and I am extraordinarily grateful for his unwavering support and kinship.  He and Mirna, in graciously allowing us the use of their holiday home at Stilbaai facilitated this work.  Steven Hammer has been another remarkable personage in my life and I am most grateful for him being the sensitive, perceptive, empathic and remarkable man he is.

Lastly where I have used the term “we” I have included my wife, Daphne.  This is actually with great reluctance because anything to do with taxonomy and nomenclature brings with it a cloud of derogation and negativity – what to say of the negative attitudes that surround the word “collection”.  It seems that in past civilizations there was great respect for nature and many of the rites and rituals were an appeasement to nature for the benefits she bestowed in terms of what she provided in the way of food, clothes and shelter – the basic needs of man.  Daphne has provided me with the trust and support of a true companion and I regard her very dearly.  There is no need for her to remind me, as she seldom does, that few other housewives would traipse so blithely and happily through the wilderness with someone who does not seem to know where he is going or what he is doing next.

I feel a need to explain again that I became a taxonomist by default where there are also systematists and nomenclaturalists and I would not wish to be any of these.  We as individuals are all inclined to make bold and general statements based only on what we know and ignore the very much greater body that we do not know at all.  I would say that it is depressingly sad that information is processed and distributed as knowledge often from a very limited experience and limited data base.  After 45 years of this I actually am painfully aware that there is still a lot that I do not know about.  I make no apologies for a revision that is precisely the sort of product that comes from constant testing of a hypothesis.  I take it very remiss of a publisher that did not honour the integral part of a contract to further research and validate the work.  I am extremely grateful to Harry Mays for publishing a vast series of articles that were originally intended for a home based publication but mindlessly lost in a mire of conflicting interests.