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|Distribution:||Africa: South Africa: Western Cape:|
Haworthia opalina - Dr. M. Hayashi,
Mini article by Gerhard Marx.
This very rare and fascinating species has been the subject of misinterpretation because at first glance the plants are somewhat similar to Haworthia minima. It shares the feature of having small and densely arranged tubercles on the leaves with Haworthia minima but in reality it is much closer linked to Haworthia maxima both in terms of geographic distribution as well as flower and fruit characters. Haworthia opalina also grows larger than the average Haworthia minima and the tubercles of Haworthia opalina have a glossy and transparent appearance while the tubercles found on the general Haworthia minima plant are more opaque-white in colour. Haworthia minima is also more regularly inclined to cluster while H. opalina plants remain mostly solitary. Haworthia minima is mainly restricted to the coastal area south of the Langeberg Mountains and Haworthia opalina occurs north of the mountains in the Little Karoo.
Haworthia opalina is only known from the farm Brandrivier between Barrydale and Garcia’s Pass where it grows on a single hill. Very few people have had the opportunity to visit the locality because the landowners are known for their distrust towards plant visitors and very meticulous about who may roam their property.
The flowers of Haworthia opalina have the same rather thick perianth tube and swollen base as that of Haworthia maxima, while in Haworthia minima the flower is smaller with a considerably narrower tube and smaller base.
In addition, the fruits of the Brandrivier plants are virtually identical to the short and smooth globose fruits as found in Haworthia maxima while the fruits of Haworthia minima are much narrower, three-angled and longer and often with a few corrugations along the angles.
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