Haworthia Revisited – 46. Haworthia glabrata

46. Haworthia glabrata (Salm Dyck) Baker, JLinn.Soc.Bot. 18:206(1880).  Bayer :118(1976).  Bayer :67(1982).  Smith, Aloe 26:18(1989).  Aloe glabrata Salm Dyck, Hort.Dyck. :325(1834).  Salm Dyck, Monogr. 6:f13(1840).  Type: Cape.  Not preserved.  Neotype:  icon, f13, Salm Dyck.

glabrata: smooth.

Rosette stemless, proliferous, to 120mm tall.  Leaves to 80 X 15mm, attenuate, spreading, lanceolate-deltoid, scabrid with or without distinct raised non-confluent excrescences.  Inflorescence sparsely branched, lax.  Flowers tepals fused, tube straight, lower inner tepals revolute.

1982 – Strangely enough this is one of the most common haworthias found in collections despite never having been seen or collected in the wild.  The assumption has always been that it is a garden hybrid but Brandham (unpublished) maintains, on the basis of cytological examination, that this is not so.  H. glabrata is not actually smooth.  The small tubercles are concolorous and the plants are a brightish green colour.  The leaves are lanceolate as in H. attenuata but they are much rounder in cross‑section, larger at the base, and fleshier in texture.  It is very proliferous and easy to grow.

1999 – This species was discovered in the wild by P.V. Bruyns in the same general area that Aloe reynoldsii grows, and together with H. cymbiformis var. setulifera.  Thus Dr Brandhams evidence and conclusions are correct.  Dr Gideon D. Smith was fascinated by this species and wrote (1989) quite extensively about it.  There is only one other collection which could be this species, and that is the one cited below from between the Kei and Tsomo Rivers.  There is also a collection in the Bolus Herbarium from ‘Thabase near Umtata’.  This consists of a single leaf which suggests Hexangulares rather than Haworthia.

Distribution: 3228(Butterworth): Collywobbles (-BA), Bruyns 4400 (NBG).

Inadequately located: Between Kei and Tsomo Rivers, Holmes in BOL71340; ex hort Grenfell in NBG871/35, Smith 2004, 2770, 4943, 4944 (NBG), Bayer 170 (NBG).