Volume 7, Chapter 3:- A field trip to the Potberg area.


These field trips are always made with some objective in mind in respect of new exploration.  In this case I wanted to get more pictures of H. mutica as it is a species that I have few digital images of.  There were also localities that I remembered from the days when I was sweeping the countryside at a fairly coarse scale and was not much bothered by detail.  I confidently expected the number of real species conforming to that in other fields of botany and zoology, to be in the region of 33.  I never dreamed that such divergent views would, or even could, arise from less information than even then available to me.  So while 450 names were whittled down to the mid-hundreds by me, students of the genus have in recent years pushed that up to the 600 mark.  My opinions have been couched in quite conservative terms but it is a problem of the nomenclatural system that an identification in respect of a Latin name evokes a reality that does not exist.  I maintain that the problems we experience in Haworthia are no different to that which exists in many animal and plant genera.  I think that primarily this is because of the absence of insight into, and understanding of, the actual nature of species and the two dimensional model we use to relate them.  Species are very variable systems because they have to be to survive the constantly changing world they occupy.  In this article I am just going to present images of plants within populations of four different species viz. H. variegata, H. minima, H. mirabilis and H. mutica.

Set 1  H. variegata.

H. variegata has an odd distribution in that it is primarily in the lower Goukou River drainage system southeast of Riversdale.  Plants of H. monticola from the Uniondale and Willowmore areas,and even those of H. angustifolia from the Eastern Cape, can be very similar.  So the distribution south and west of the lower Breede River is quite remarkable.  Two populations, one high on the western end of the Potberg Mountain and another northwest of this at Luiperd’s Kop are very similar to those in the Goukou area.  Chris Burgers of Cape Nature brought me plants from the lower north slopes of the Potberg that were quite different.  Small single plants with outcurving leaf ends barely protruding above the pebbles the plants were growing in.  I named this H. variegata ‘hemicrypta’ but not without reservation in the same way as I also named the plants in another population on the Potberg and at Kathoek as H. variegata ‘modesta’.

Chris Burgers did take me to his site many years ago and it is one of those places I cannot recall in the pebbly flats and Fynbos vegetation of that area.  So the finds here seem to represent that same element but with subtle differences in respect mainly of variegation and spination of the leaf margins.  I have mentioned elsewhere that there is an interaction with an element I refer to as H. floribunda although it is not clear if this indeed that species, or if it is an emergent polytopic element of H. mirabilis in consideration of the variation and distribution of these two apparently different species.  We may have a truth for one area that is different from a truth in another. Polytopic means similar looking things arising in different places from a common genetic pool.

1. Map of the Diepkloof area. (fig.1)

Map of the Diepkloof area.

Map of the Diepkloof area.


2. MBB7923 H.variegata  S Diepkloof. (figs 2)

Fig. 2.1 7923 S Diepkloof Fig. 2.2 7923 S Diepkloof
Fig. 2.3 7923 S Diepkloof Fig. 2.4 7923 S Diepkloof


3. MBB7924 H. variegata SE Diepkloof. (figs 3)

Fig. 3.1 7924 SE Diepkloof Fig. 3.2 7924 SE Diepkloof
Fig. 3.3 7924 SE Diepkloof Fig. 3.4 7924 SE Diepkloof
Fig. 3.5 7924 SE Diepkloof Fig. 3.6 7924 SE Diepkloof
Fig. 3.7 Looking west to the Kleinberg

Fig. 3.7 Looking west to the Kleinberg



4. MBB7925 H. variegata  SE Diepkloof. (figs 4)

Fig. 4.1 7925 SE Diepkloof Fig. 4.2 7925 SE Diepkloof

Fig. 4.3 7925 SE Diepkloof


5. MBB7927 H. variegata  SSE Diepkloof. (figs 5)

Fig. 5.1 7927 SSE Diepkloof Fig. 5.2 7927 SSE Diepkloof

Fig. 5.3 7927 SSE Diepkloof


6. MBB7928 H. variegata  SSE Diepkloof. (figs 6)

Fig. 6.1 7928 S Diepkloof

Fig. 6.2 7928 View looking east to 7927

Fig. 6.2 MBB7928, View looking east toward MBB7927.

Fig. 6.3 7928 View looking southwest with Kleinberg off to the right.

Fig. 6.3 MBB7928 View looking southwest with Kleinberg to right.


7. MBB7515 H. variegata  Stoffelsriver. (figs 7)

Fig. 7.1 7515 Stoffelsrivier.

Fig. 7.2 7515 Stoffelsrivier.

Applying the available varietal name, I should refer to these populations as H. variegata var. hemicrypta.  However, I think this implies fixity of opinion and a certainty or reality that are neither not strictly true.  I have added the Stoffelsriver two pictures just as a reference because while the first 5 populations are associated with recent Tertiary deposits and Renosterveld vegetation, the last is in sandstone gravels and in Fynbos.


Set 2  H. minima.

This species of course belongs with three others in the Robustipedunculares and in my opinion more closely related to Astroloba than to Haworthia.  It is widespread and even occurs in the Little Karoo.  None of these populations are significantly different from the general run for the species, but we were awed by the beauty of the plants in their natural settings where exposure results in compactness and beautiful colouration.  They can occur in quite different environments and habitats.  There are a few aberrant populations and hybrids with other members of the sub-genus.


8. MBB7496a H. minima Diepkloof S. (figs 8)

Fig. 8.1 7496a Diepkloof S Fig. 8.2 7496a Diepkloof S
Fig. 8.3 7496a Diepkloof S Fig. 8.4 7496a Diepkloof S

Fig. 8.5 7496a Diepkloof S


9. MBB7926 H. minima SEDiepkloof (fig. 9)

Fig. 9 7926 Diepkloof S


10. MBB7929 H. minima SE Diepkloof S. (figs 10)

Fig. 10.1 7929 SE Diepkloof Fig. 10.2 7929 SE Diepkloof


11. MBB7930 H. minima S Diepkloof. (figs 11)

Fig. 11.1 7930 with 7947 SE Diepkloof minima Fig. 11.2 7930 with 7947 SE Diepkloof minima
Fig. 11.3 7930 with 7947 SE Diepkloof minima Fig. 11.4 7930 with 7947 SE Diepkloof minima
Fig. 11.5 7930 with 7947 SE Diepkloof minima Fig. 11.6 7930 with 7947 SE Diepkloof minima
Fig. 11.7 7930 with 7947 SE Diepkloof minima Fig. 11.8 7930 with 7947 SE Diepkloof minima

Fig. 11.9 7930 with 7947 SE Diepkloof minima

Fig. 11.10 7930 with 7947 SE Diepkloof minima Fig. 11.11 7930 with 7947 SE Diepkloof minima

Fig. 11.12 7930 with 7947 SE Diepkloof minima


12. MBB7932 H. minima S Kleinberg. (figs 12)

Fig. 12.3 7932.3 S Kleinberg

Fig. 12.1 7932 S Kleinberg Fig. 12.2 7932 S Kleinberg


Set 3  H. mirabilis.

 H. mirablis is an extremely complex group of many populations and plants and distributed from Albertinia in the east to near Caledon in the west, and from the foothills of the Langeberg to the coast.  The relationship with H. retusa hangs on the slender thread of flowering time, with H retusa flowering in late spring and H. mirabilis in late summer.  The relationship of these two species to H. pygmaea in the east and H. mutica to the west has been mooted by me elsewhere.  A similar scenario can be suggested for the species recognized north of the Langeberg.  Included in the following sets is the population at Die Kop that I surmise has its origins in interaction between H. mutica and H. mirabilis.

There are three populations in these sets (nos 13-15) that are suggestive of H. mirabilis ‘atrofusca’, while others have distinct resemblances to H. floribunda (e.g. 16).  It is curious that nearly all the populations of H. mirabilis that occur in the same general geographic area as does H. mutica are of smallish plants.  These I originally regarded as a separate species viz. H. heidelbergensis.   This should be seen as one of those decisions based on inadequate sampling and knowledge of the field.  This phenomenon now suggests to me that H. mutica is occupying middle ground between H. retusa in the ‘turgida’ form and H. mirabilis.


13. MBB7496 H. mirabilis Diepkloof S. (figs 13)

13.20 7496 Diepkloof S 13.19 7496 Diepkloof S
13.18 7496 Diepkloof S 13.17 7496 Diepkloof S
13.16 7496 Diepkloof S 13.15 7496 Diepkloof S
13.14 7496 Diepkloof S 13.13 7496 Diepkloof S
13.12 7496 Diepkloof S 13.11 7496 Diepkloof S
13.10 7496 Diepkloof S 13.9 7496 Diepkloof S
13.8 7496 Diepkloof S 13.7 7496 Diepkloof S
13.6 7496 Diepkloof S 13.5 7496 Diepkloof S
13.4 7496 Diepkloof S 13.3 7496 Diepkloof S
13.2 7496 Diepkloof S 13.1 7496 Diepkloof S
13.21 View overlooking habitat 7496.

13.21 View overlooking habitat 7496.

13.22 View looking west to north of Kleinberg.

13.22 View looking west to north of Kleinberg.


14. MBB7497 H. mirabilis S S Diepkloof.(figs 14)

Fig. 14.13 7497 S S Diepkloof Fig. 14.12 7497 S S Diepkloof
Fig. 14.11 7497 S S Diepkloof Fig. 14.10 7497 S S Diepkloof
Fig. 14.9 7497 S S Diepkloof Fig. 14.8 7497 S S Diepkloof
Fig. 14.7 7497 S S Diepkloof Fig. 14.6 7497 S S Diepkloof
Fig. 14.5 7497 S S Diepkloof Fig. 14.4 7497 S S Diepkloof
Fig. 14.3 7497 S S Diepkloof Fig. 14.2 7497 S S Diepkloof

Fig. 14.1 7497 S S Diepkloof

Fig. 14.14 7497 View looking north.

Fig. 14.14 7497 View looking north.


15. MBB7933 H. mirabilis  S Diepkloof. (figs 15)

 Fig. 15.1 7933 S 7496 Diepkloof  Fig. 15.2 7933 S 7496 Diepkloof
 Fig. 15.3 7933 S 7496 Diepkloof  Fig. 15.4 7933 S 7496 Diepkloof
 Fig. 15.5 7933 S 7496 Diepkloof  Fig. 15.6 7933 S 7496 Diepkloof
 Fig. 15.7 7933 S 7496 Diepkloof  Fig. 15.8 7933 S 7496 Diepkloof
 Fig. 15.9 7933 S 7496 Diepkloof  Fig. 15.10 7933 S 7496 Diepkloof
 Fig. 15.11 7933 S 7496 Diepkloof  Fig. 15.12 7933 S 7496 Diepkloof


16. MBB7922 H. mirabilis Diepkloof. (figs 16)

A locality established by Jakub Jelimicky.  The similarities to H. floribunda  is only apparent in some of the plants where the leaf tips are twisted, slightly flattened and rounded at the ends.

Fig. 16.1 7922 Diepkloof Fig. 16.2 7922 Diepkloof
 Fig. 16.3 7922 Diepkloof  Fig. 16.4 7922 Diepkloof
 Fig. 16.6 7922 Diepkloof  Fig. 16.5 7922 Diepkloof
 Fig. 16.8 7922 Diepkloof  Fig. 16.7 7922 Diepkloof
 Fig. 16.10 7922 Diepkloof  Fig. 16.9 7922 Diepkloof
 Fig. 16.12 7922 Diepkloof  Fig. 16.11 7922 Diepkloof
 Fig. 16.14 7922 Diepkloof  Fig. 16.13 7922 Diepkloof


17. MBB7931 H. mirabilis S S Kleinberg. (figs 17)

Fig. 17.1 7931 SS Kleinberg. Fig. 17.2 7931 SS Kleinberg.
Fig. 17.3 7931 SS Kleinberg. Fig. 17.4 7931 SS Kleinberg.


18. MBB7531 H. mirabilis S Kleinberg. (figs 18)

Fig. 30 7531 S Kleinberg slope.  Enthusiasts at play.

7531 S Kleinberg slope. Enthusiasts at play.


Figs 18.1 7531 S Kleinberg Figs 18.2 7531 S Kleinberg
 Figs 18.3 7531 S Kleinberg  Figs 18.4 7531 S Kleinberg
 Figs 18.5 7531 S Kleinberg  Figs 18.6 7531 S Kleinberg
 Figs 18.7 7531 S Kleinberg  Figs 18.8 7531 S Kleinberg
 Figs 18.9 7531 S Kleinberg  Figs 18.10 7531 S Kleinberg
 Figs 18.11 7531 S Kleinberg  Figs 18.12 7531 S Kleinberg
 Figs 18.13 7531 S Kleinberg  Figs 18.14 7531 S Kleinberg
 Figs 18.15 7531 S Kleinberg  Figs 18.16 7531 S Kleinberg
 Figs 18.17 7531 S Kleinberg  Figs 18.18 7531 S Kleinberg
 Figs 18.19 7531 S Kleinberg  Figs 18.20 7531 S Kleinberg
 Figs 18.21 7531 S Kleinberg  Figs 18.22 7531 S Kleinberg
 Figs 18.23 7531 S Kleinberg  Figs 18.24 7531 S Kleinberg
 Figs 18.25 7531 S Kleinberg  Figs 18.26 7531 S Kleinberg
 Figs 18.27 7531 S Kleinberg  Figs 18.28 7531 S Kleinberg

Figs 18.29 7531 S Kleinberg


19. MBB7935 H. mirabilis Langvlei. (figs 19)

 7935.1 Langvlei  7935.2 Langvlei
 7935.3 Langvlei  7935.4 Langvlei
 7935.5 Langvlei  7935.6 Langvlei
 7935.7 Langvlei  7935.8 Langvlei
7935.9 Langvlei  7935.10 Langvlei

7935.11 Langvlei

MBB7935.12 Langvlei  The plants are in a tiny bit of rock just beyond the dumps.

MBB7935.12 Langvlei The plants are in a tiny bit of rock just beyond the dumps.



20. MBB7938 H. mirabilis SEStoffelsriver. (figs 20)

This locality was recorded when Gerhard Marx and Jakub Jelimicky misunderstood my directions.  The plants are incredibly cryptic and very hard to see in a not very well defined habitat.  One can only follow my opinion on the classification in the context of 8 other populations in the sandstones and Fynbos, and then relate these to populations in shales, tertiary deposit and transitional vegetation.

Fig. 20.1 7938 SE Stoffelsrivier Fig. 20.2 7938 SE Stoffelsrivier
Fig. 20.7 7938 SE Stoffelsrivier Fig. 20.6 7938 SE Stoffelsrivier
Fig. 20.5 7938 SE Stoffelsrivier Fig. 20.4 7938 SE Stoffelsrivier
Fig. 20.3 7938 SE Stoffelsrivier Fig. 20.8 7938 SE Stoffelsrivier
Fig. 20.9 7938 SE Stoffelsrivier Fig. 20.10 7938 SE Stoffelsrivier
Fig. 20.11 7938 SE Stoffelsrivier Fig. 20.12 7938 SE Stoffelsrivier
Fig. 20.13 7938 SE Stoffelsrivier Fig. 20.14 7938 SE Stoffelsrivier
Fig. 20.15 7938 SE Stoffelsrivier Fig. 20.16 7938 SE Stoffelsrivier
Fig. 20.17 7938 SE Stoffelsrivier Fig. 20.18 7938 SE Stoffelsrivier
Fig. 20.19 7938 SE Stoffelsrivier Fig. 20.20 7938 SE Stoffelsrivier

Fig. 20.21 7938 SE Stoffelsrivier

Fig. 20.22 7938 SE Stoffelsrivier

Fig. 20.22 7938 SE Stoffelsrivier

Fig. 23 7938 SE Stoffelsrivier  View looking east to Sandhoogte

Fig. 23 7938 SE Stoffelsrivier View looking east to Sandhoogte.


21. JDV86/2 H. mirabilis Haarwegskloof. (figs 21)

These are small plants in very close association with H. mutica as discussed above and are in quartz outcrops rather than in the shale ridges where H. mutica is found.

Fig. 21.1 JDV862 Haarwegskloof Fig. 21.2 JDV862 Haarwegskloof
Fig. 21.3 JDV862 Haarwegskloof Fig. 21.4 JDV862 Haarwegskloof
Fig. 21.5 JDV862 Haarwegskloof Fig. 21.6 JDV862 Haarwegskloof
Fig. 21.7 JDV862 Haarwegskloof Fig. 21.8 JDV862 Haarwegskloof
Fig. 21.9 JDV862 Haarwegskloof Fig. 21.10 JDV862 Haarwegskloof
Fig. 21.11 JDV862 Haarwegskloof Fig. 21.12 JDV862 Haarwegskloof
Fig. 21.13 JDV862 Haarwegskloof Fig. 21.14 JDV862 Haarwegskloof
Fig. 21.15 JDV862 Haarwegskloof Fig. 21.16 JDV862 Haarwegskloof
Fig. 21.17 JDV862 Haarwegskloof Fig. 21.18 JDV862 Haarwegskloof
Fig. 21.19 JDV862 Haarwegskloof Fig. 21.20 JDV862 Haarwegskloof

Fig. 21.21 JDV862 Haarwegskloof



Set 4 H. mutica.

H. mutica  is not a species that is well-known and this is probably because it is not proliferous.  The name mutica means without a point and “typically” plants of H. mutica should and do have no point (end-awn).   The main object of the trip was to obtain more images of this species to convey a better impression of the many variants and how it can be viewed in relation to other species.

22. MBB7075 H.mutica Grootvlakte. (figs 22)

I am not certain of the origins of H. otzenii G G Smith and the locality that I traced was approximately 8km east of Riviersonderend.  That site is now very degraded and I could not find plants on a visit many years ago but where I did see them on my first visit there.  This Grootvlakte population occupies a similar habitat in an exposed shale ridge south of the Riviersonderend river.

Fig. 22.1 7075 Grootvlakte Fig. 22.2 7075 Grootvlakte
Fig. 22.3 7075 Grootvlakte Fig. 22.4 7075 Grootvlakte
Fig. 22.5 7075 Grootvlakte Fig. 22.6 7075 Grootvlakte
Fig. 22.7 7075 Grootvlakte Fig. 22.8 7075 Grootvlakte
Fig. 22.9 7075 Grootvlakte Fig. 22.10 7075 Grootvlakte
Fig. 22.11 7075 Grootvlakte Fig. 22.12 7075 Grootvlakte
Fig. 22.13 7075 Grootvlakte Fig. 22.14 7075 Grootvlakte
Fig. 22.15 7075 Grootvlakte Fig. 22.16 7075 Grootvlakte

Fig. 22.17 7075 Grootvlakte

Fig. 22.18 7075 Grootvlakte

Fig. 22.19 7075 View of site at Grootvlakte

Fig. 22.19 7075 View of site at Grootvlakte


23. MBB7735 H. mutica Crodini. (figs 23)

The name Crodini may have been used for the following collection at nearby Witklipkop, and I say this because I did once get seed from there and Jakub Jelimiky informs he has a plant labeled ‘Crodini’.  I only saw two plants here at Crodini itself when the site was severely grazed, and we found only 8 plants on this occasion. The plants appear to be in quartz, but this is a bit of an illusion as there are white quartz bands in the shale and the plants prefer the shale.

Fig. 23.1 7935 Crodini Fig. 23.2 7075 Crodini
Fig. 23.3 7075 Crodini Fig. 23.4 7075 Crodini
Fig. 23.5 7075 Crodini Fig. 23.6 7075 Crodini
Fig. 23.7 7075 Crodini Fig. 23.8 7075 Crodini

Fig. 23.9 7075 Crodini

Fig. 23.10 7075 View across site. Grootvlakte

Fig. 23.10 7075 View across site. Grootvlakte


24. MBB6536 H. mutica Witklipkop. (figs 24)

This is not a robust population in shale and also marginal to quartz.

Fig. 24.1 6536 Witklipkop, Napky Fig. 24.2 6536 Witklipkop, Napky
Fig. 24.3 6536 Witklipkop, Napky36.3 Witklipkop, Napky Fig. 24.4 6536 Witklipkop, Napky
Fig. 24.5 6536 Witklipkop, Napky Fig. 24.6 6536 Witklipkop, Napky


25. MBB7937 H. mutica Platkop, S Napky. (figs 25)

The substrate here seems to be silcrete but there is no underlying kaolinite and the area is cultivated, which suggests shale.  So that is a bit of an unknown.

Fig. 25.1 7937 N Platkop SE Langvlei Fig. 25.2 7937 N Platkop SE Langvlei
Fig. 25.3 7937 N Platkop SE Langvlei Fig. 25.4 7937 N Platkop SE Langvlei
Fig. 25.5 7937 N Platkop SE Langvlei Fig. 25.6 7937 N Platkop SE Langvlei
Fig. 25.7 7937 N Platkop SE Langvlei Fig. 25.8 7937 N Platkop SE Langvlei
Fig. 25.9 7937 N Platkop SE Langvlei Fig. 25.10 7937 N Platkop SE Langvlei
Fig. 25.11 7937 N Platkop SE Langvlei Fig. 25.12 7937 N Platkop SE Langvlei
Fig. 25.13 7937 N Platkop SE Langvlei Fig. 25.14 7937 N Platkop SE Langvlei
Fig. 25.15 7937 N Platkop SE Langvlei

Fig. 25.15 7937 N Platkop SE Langvlei

Fig. 25.16 7937 N Platkop SE Langvlei

Fig. 25.16 7937 N Platkop SE Langvlei


26. ADH2729 H. mutica Ouplaas, DeHoop. (figs 26)

Fig. 1 ADH2729 Ouplaas, De Hoop Fig. 2 ADH2729 Ouplaas, De Hoop
Fig. 3 ADH2729 Ouplaas, De Hoop Fig. 4 ADH2729 Ouplaas, De Hoop


27. MBB7934 H. mutica Wolwefontein. (figs 27)

In early 1970 I took Peter Brandham and David Cutler of Kew to look at Haworthia in the field.  In fig.27.12 the view is southward to Kathoek and the cottage in the foreground was occupied.  It must have been abandoned soon after and the access road obscured.  The result was that the place was later difficult to find, but the plants are still there.  It is not far from the problematic Die Kop population to come.

Fig. 27.1 7934 Wolwefontein Fig. 27.2 7934 Wolwefontein
Fig. 27.3 7934 Wolwefontein Fig. 27.4 7934 Wolwefontein
Fig. 27.5 7934 Wolwefontein Fig. 27.6 7934 Wolwefontein
Fig. 27.7 7934 Wolwefontein Fig. 27.8 7934 Wolwefontein
Fig. 27.9 7934 Wolwefontein Fig. 27.10 7934 Wolwefontein

Fig. 27.11 7934 Wolwefontein

Fig. 27.12 7934 Wolwefontein

Fig. 27.12 7934 Wolwefontein


28. JDV85/17 H. mutica Haarwegskloof. (figs 28)

This record goes back to 1985.  We did not have landowner permission here as we did not know exactly where to go.  The area was also unfenced.  So we were confronted by the farm manager and never took as many pictures nor explored more widely.  It certainly would have been problematic had we not simply being photographing.  Anybody else may have ended up at the police station.  It is a case of farm land too hilly and rocky to cultivate and bought by apparently wealthy city people with an eye to conservation.  This may result in the place being game-fenced, a lodge built for the up-market; and made perhaps even less accessible.

Fig. 28.1 JDV85-17 Haarwegskloof Fig. 28.2 JDV85-17 Haarwegskloof
Fig. 28.3 JDV85-17 Haarwegskloof Fig. 28.4 JDV85-17 Haarwegskloof
Fig. 28.5 JDV85-17 Haarwegskloof Fig. 28.6 JDV85-17 Haarwegskloof

Fig. 28.7 JDV85-17 Haarwegskloof



29. MBB6641 H. mutica Hasiesdrift. (figs 29)

This was one of my early encounters in 1969 with Haworthia, where I fortuitously stopped at a river crossing, lifted a branch of a shrublet and saw a magnificent plant just like that illustrated and serving as the type for the name H. mutica (see fig.29.1for an example)).  A year later a new road was built and if there had been a population there it was no more.  In 1996 when I was writing Haworthia Revisited, I went back there and after a diligent search found a very small group of plants at the base of a small plant of Aloe ferox.  The two species seldom grow among each other so this really was odd.  I have periodically been back to see what was happening because there were many Aloe seedlings.  The very small population has waxed and waned and the mothering Aloe seedling has died.  There has been a small spread of plants to occupy an area of about 2 square meters.  I know here are more plants about 2km away but have not explored the wider area more thoroughly.

Fig. 29.1 JDV97-26 Hasiesdrift. Fig. 29.2 JDV97-26 Hasiesdrift.
Fig. 29.3 JDV97-26 Hasiesdrift. Fig. 29.4 JDV97-26 Hasiesdrift.
Fig. 29.5 JDV97-26 Hasiesdrift. Fig. 29.6 JDV97-26 Hasiesdrift.
Fig. 29.7 JDV97-26 Hasiesdrift. Fig. 29.8 JDV97-26 Hasiesdrift.

Fig. 29.9 JDV97-26 Hasiesdrift.



30 MBB7500 H.muticaXmirabilis Die Kop. (figs 30)

So we come to the problem child that has acquired the species Latin binomial H. hammeri.  I think this is unfortunate as Steven Hammer deserves a great deal better than this.  It should not be necessary to have to also manage personal issues in an inquiry into what the name means or if it is a valid statement in science.  This population is one I found when I was exploring widely for an understanding of H. mirabilis.  It was not growing in conventional habitat and populations occur at many places in the wider vicinity.  So I do not comprehend at all why this single population with absolutely nothing to support its designation as a species in respect of anything but the fact that the plants look different from something else.  The plants are also very variable as the set of pictures should show, and the plant suggested by the picture accompanying the description is not typical.  The proximity of H. mutica and the nuances of these plants with this species and also with that of other nearby populations of H. mirabilis, suggest to me that this population is of hybrid origin.  I also use the term hybrid in the sense of genetic similarity because hybridity itself implies separate existence.  My feeling is that H. mirabilis and H. retusa have separated in time from a common gene pool and that the process is not complete and nor will it be.  My species definition requires that we see all these populations as one system that is spread in geographic space and is changing with time.  The rate of change is a fourth dimension.

I suppose one should comment on the shiny leaf surface (fig. 30.3 especially) that is present in H. mutica, as this character is also described as a diagnostic for H. groenewaldii that is as contentious as H. hammeri.

Fig. 30.1 7500 Die Kop Fig. 30.2 7500 Die Kop
Fig. 30.3 7500 Die Kop Fig. 30.4 7500 Die Kop
Fig. 30.5 7500 Die Kop Fig. 30.6 7500 Die Kop
Fig. 30.7 7500 Die Kop Fig. 30.8 7500 Die Kop
Fig. 30.9 7500 Die Kop Fig. 30.10 7500 Die Kop
Fig. 30.11 7500 Die Kop Fig. 30.12 7500 Die Kop
Fig. 30.13 7500 Die Kop Fig. 30.14 7500 Die Kop
Fig. 30.15 7500 Die Kop Fig. 30.16 7500 Die Kop
Fig. 30.17 7500 Die Kop Fig. 30.18 7500 Die Kop
Fig. 30.19 7500 Die Kop Fig. 30.20 7500 Die Kop

Fig. 30.21 7500 Die Kop



The objectives of the excursion were fully met and I am sure these pictures will contribute to a better view of how these four species vary.  Perhaps this will illustrate also the illogic of Latin binomials for every variable, however desirable these names are for traders and collectors.


Bennie Viljoen of Grootvlakte, Koos Badenhorst of Langvlei, Maree and Elizabeth Prinsloo of Stoffelsriver, Ferdie of Diepkloof Security Services, Adele and Vlooi DuToit for Die Kop, Martin Mijnhardt of Haarwegskloof, Neil Giliomee of Hasiesdrift.  In some cases we simply could not track landowners and trust they will forgive us our trespasses remembering that invasion of ones territory is close to an unforgiveable sin.