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This attractive recent discovery is a population of shiny plants seemingly belonging to the Haworthia magnifica group. The following on GM 685 H. magnifica var nov, Morning Star as per Mr. Gerhard Marx:
A population of this rather attractive small and very glossy little retusoid Haworthia was encountered by M.B. Bayer during 2007 on a tiny narrow unploughed island amongst agricultural fields on the farm Morning Star south of Heidelberg. The plants range in colour from almost black to brick red, depending upon exposure. One’s first inclination towards identification of this population is to link it to H. retusa /mutica var nigra (also known as H. chromutica Breuer). In support of this is also the fact that Kransrivier mouth where H. mutica var. nigra is known to occur is only about 5 km to the south-east. However, the latter comparisons are based only upon the geographic proximity as well as the shared dark and glossy leaves. Such an association would seem to be superficial and misleading. It turns out that these small dark plants on Morning Star are not closely related to the nearby H. chromutica at all as it flowers months apart from H. chromutica and both its flower features and flowering time corresponds with members of the H. magnifica-maraisii group. These plants seem to be a small and glossy variant of H. magnifica as the few rough-leaved individuals at the locality reminds somewhat of a stunted form of H. magnifica var. atrofusca.
To complicate matters further, a population of typical H. maraisii grows only 300 metres away on Morning Star farm. The above-mentioned ‘atrofusca-like’ rough-leaved plants may be as a result of interaction between these two populations as flowering times are the same for both.This population is so distinctive that it may well deserve a name to communicate its identity, perhaps as variety of H. maraisii or magnifica.
The case of this interesting new discovery illustrates the pitfalls involved in identifying populations purely based upon geographic situation and superficial leaf characters.
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