Haworthia Revisited – 39. Haworthia vlokii

39. Haworthia vlokii Bayer spec.nov.  

Type: CAPE-3322(Oudtshoorn): Swartberg Mts. (-BC), Vlok in Venter 91/2 (NBG. Holo.).

This species is named after Jan Vlok, well known naturalist and observer, who has contributed greatly to the knowledge of the flora of the mountains of the Little Karoo and Southern Cape.  H. vlokii is a small proliferous species reminiscent of H. maculata from the Langeberg Mountains in the Worcester/Robertson area.  The flower tends to be similarly regular with a slightly biarcuate bud.  This is also fairly similar to that of H. monticola.  The more regular stellate flower, and slightly incurving leaf-tips, are also suggestive of that species which is geographically the most probable affinity.  H. vlokii has been recorded at low altitude in Meiringspoort, but this was where it was growing on a huge fallen rock.  It is more at home at higher altitude in the mountain pass and was originally also collected on top of the Groot Swartberg Mountains to the east of the Pass.  Here it was growing on a north-facing rock wall.  There are no co-occurring species although the southern end of Meiringspoort is also home to a depauperate form of H. arachnoidea var. setata.  There are several collections, mainly by P.V. Bruyns from the deep valleys on the north side of the Swartbergs.  Those to the west of Prince Albert have been included in H. marumiana var. viridis, but one from the eastern Frisgewaagd is a small form of H. vlokii.  A lot more exploration and good recording will be required before these mountain-dwellers are better understood. (H. maculata affinis sed foliis parvioribus angunstioribus fuscatioribusque floribus roseo-tinctis, et habitu valde prolificanti differt.)

Rosette acaulescent, 40-50mm diam., proliferous by offset.  Stem up to 10mm diam.  Leaves spreading to sub-erect, up to 30 X 6-8mm, 3-4mm thick, slightly incurving tips with 2mm long end-awn, surfaces opaque;  face convex with 1-2 short rows of inconspicuous opaque whiter dots towards tip; back convex with 3-6 rows of opaque whiter dots, with 1-2 sharper keels bearing spines to 0.6mm long; margins similarly toothed towards apex.  Peduncle simple, 1-1.5mm diam., 300-450mm long including raceme, pinkish-brown;  base smooth, 3-angled;  raceme with 6-18 flowers, 2-4 open; pedicels 4-6mm long, 1mm diam.,  sterile bracts 5-11, 4-6mm long.  Perianth white and brownish-pink, 15mm long, perigon sub-triangular, tepals regular;  tube brownish-pink within;  buds slightly biarcuate, with rounded tips.  Flowering November.  

Distribution: 3322(Oudtshoorn): Frisgewaagd (-AD), Bruyns 6252 (BOL); Swartberg Mts. (-BC), Vlok in Venter 91/2 (NBG): Meiringspoort (-BC), Venter 94/92, 93/14 (NBG).