ISI 2004-26. Haworthia maxima (Haworth) Duval

This favorite species has long been known as H. margaritifera, referring to the prominent, white, pearl-like tubercles studding the leaves. More recently, the synonym H. pumila has been in fashion. The latter epithet, meaning dwarf, is an ironic one for the largest species of the genus producing rosettes to 15 cm or more across. This is a historical artifact from the time when haworthias were included in the genus Aloe. Relative to most members of that genus H. pumila is indeed a dwarf. It is now realized that the earliest name (1809) unambiguously applied to this species is the most appropriate one: H. maxima. In addition to the hard, beautifully tuberculate surface, this population can also blush a lovely reddish hue when grown in bright light with a lean watering regime. HBG 90235, plants from controlled pollination of M. B. Bayer s.n., collected at Lemoenpoort, W Cape, S Africa. $8.50.

Correction, published in the Cactus and Succulent Journal Vol. 78 (2), March - April, 2006

Bruce Bayer notes that I followed his and E. van Jaarsveld’s treatment of this species in the Monocotyledon volume of the Illustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants (apparently penned before 1999 but not published until 2001), which is superseded by his more thorough treatment in Haworthia Revisited (1999), in which he makes the case in favor of the name H. pumila (L.) M.B. Bayer over the synonym H. maxima (Haw.) Duval.

Photo © 2004 by John N. Trager. Images may not be used elsewhere without permission.

Published in the Cactus and Succulent Journal, Vol. 76 (2), March - April, 2004