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Accepted Scientific Name: Haworthia magnifica Poelln.
Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. 33: 239. 1933
Origin and Habitat: It mainly occurs in the South-western Cape, a winter rainfall area South-East of Riversdale up to West Heidelberg. Also a population near Tradouw Pass has been reported.
Altitude: 0-500 metres above sea level.
Habitat: The colour of the sand approximates that of the upper surface of the brownish-greenish leaves, and these are practically level with the soil and serve to camouflage this plant on the ground. This way Haworthia magnifica resist attacks from herbivorous predators, and is almost impossible to distinguish from its surroundings.
- Haworthia magnifica Poelln.
Haworthia magnifica Poelln.
Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. 33: 239. 1933
- Haworthia magnifica Poelln.
Haworthia magnifica var. acuminata (M.B.Bayer) M.B.Bayer
Aloe 34(1–2): 6 (1997)
- Haworthia magnifica var. acuminata (M.B.Bayer) M.B.Bayer
- Haworthia acuminata (M.B.Bayer) M.Hayashi
- Haworthia retusa var. acuminata (M.B.Bayer) M.B.Bayer
- Haworthia retusa f. acuminata M.B.Bayer
- Haworthia magnifica var. acuminata f. variegata hort.
Haworthia magnifica var. atrofusca (G.G.Sm.) M.B.Bayer
Natl. Cact. Succ. J. (U.K.) 32(1): 18 (1977)
Haworthia magnifica var. dekenahii (G.G.Sm.) M.B.Bayer
Aloe 34(1–2): 6 (1997) et in New Haworthia Handb. 53 (1982).
- Haworthia magnifica var. dekenahii (G.G.Sm.) M.B.Bayer
Haworthia magnifica var. splendens J.D.Venter & S.A.Hammer
Cact. Succ. J. (Los Angeles) 70(4): 180. 1998
- Haworthia magnifica var. splendens J.D.Venter & S.A.Hammer
- Haworthia splendens (J.D.Venter & S.A.Hammer) M.Hayashi
- Haworthia magnifica var. acuminata cv. Grey Ghost
Description: Haworthia magnifica is a lovely species forming dark green to purplish rosettes with end-area slightly translucent between the veins.
Related species: It closely related with Haworthia turgida, Haworthia maraisii and Haworthia retusa, but it is also a very variable taxon in which a number of variety and forms has been described. The status of these is uncertain.
Habit: It is a solitary to slowly proliferous evergreen stemless leaf-succulent species.
Rosettes: Up to 8 cm in diameter.
Leaves: 3-5 cm long, dark green, brownish-green to purplish, stiff, triangular-elliptic, scabrid or sometimes tuberculate, acuminate with a long terminal bristle, end-area triangular with 4 or 5 pale brown or greyish veins along the upper surfaces and small whitish teeth along the edges and keel.
Inflorescences: Produces a slender inflorescence up to 40 cm tall. Only few flowers open together at the same time.
Flowers: Small with green lines and a green throat. H. magnifica is characteristic for its short green lined buds and flowers and "fish-tail" bud tips.
Blooming season: Autumn.
Subspecies, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Haworthia magnifica group
- Haworthia magnifica Poelln.: has dark green to purplish rosettes with end-area slightly translucent between the veins. It is characteristic for its short green lined buds and flowers and "fish-tail" bud tips. Distribution: Western Cape.
- Haworthia magnifica var. acuminata (M.B.Bayer) M.B.Bayer: Differs from H. magnifica for the leaves that are longer with a stiff truncate end-area. Distribution: North of Gouritzmond, Western Cape.
- Haworthia magnifica var. acuminata f. variegata hort.: Has leaves stripped with white longitudinal lines.
- Haworthia magnifica var. acuminata cv. Grey Ghost: foliage is distinctively patterned with a very stable, consistent whitish-gray variegation. It slowly forms offsets, becoming an attractive clump in time.
- Haworthia magnifica var. atrofusca (G.G.Sm.) M.B.Bayer: Leaves 4 cm long dark blackish green with 3-5 indistinct longitudinal lines and small green tubercles; end-area rather swollen; margin and tip of leaf with small, transparent teeth. Distribution: Western Cape.
- Haworthia magnifica var. dekenahii (G.G.Sm.) M.B.Bayer: Distribution: North and West of Albertinia, Western Cape.
- Haworthia magnifica var. splendens J.D.Venter & S.A.Hammer: It is a slow growing species that stay usually solitary. The leaves shows shades of bronze-rose in half shade culture.
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) M. B. Bayer “The new Haworthia handbook” National Botanic Gardens of South Africa, 1982
2) John Pilbeam “Haworthia and Astroloba: A Collector's Guide” 1983
3) Stuart Max Walters, James Cullen “The European Garden Flora: Pteridophyta, Gymnospermae, Angiospermae” Cambridge University Press, 1986
4) Gibbs Russell, G. E., W. G. Welman, E. Reitief, K. L. Immelman, G. Germishuizen, B. J. Pienaar, M. v. Wyk & A. Nicholas. "List of species of southern African plants.” Mem. Bot. Surv. S. Afric1987
Cultivation and Propagation: Haworthia magnifica are of easy cultivation and relatively low maintenance, which makes them a good houseplant, and can be an excellent subject for the beginning succulentophile (they can grow easily on window sills, verandas and in miniature succulent gardens where they are happy to share their habitat with other smaller succulent plants, or in outdoor rockeries).
Growth rate: They are relatively slow-growing plants that offsets to form small clusters with time.
Soil: They are tolerant of a wide range of soils and habitats, but prefer a very porous potting mix to increase drainage. A non-acid soil is ideal. You can grow a plant in a 10-15 cm pot for years and have perfectly happy plants. For best results, use a shallow pot.
Exposition: The plant needs light shade to shade, but will take full sun part of the day. (with some sun exposure the leaf develops a nice reddish tint and remains compact)
Watering: During the hot summer months, the soil should be kept moist but not overly wet. During the winter months, water only when the soil becomes completely dry. Wet soil quickly causes root and stem rot, especially during chilly winter months. No water should ever be allowed to stand around the roots. Low ambient humidity is always needed.
Fertilization: The plants are fertilized only once during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer diluted to ½ the recommended strength.
Hardiness: Although the plant will survive mild frost if kept dry (hardy as low as -5° C) it should be protected from severe cold and prolonged frost conditions.
Rot: Rot is only a minor problem with Haworthia if the plants are watered and “aired” correctly. If they are not, fungicides won't help all that much. Care must be given in watering, keeping them warm and wet while growing, and cooler and dry when dormant.
Remarks: Haworthias are best planted in a shaded and airy part of the greenhouse, and not too close to the glass roof or sides of the house as the plants can overheat during hot spells.
Propagation: Haworthia are easily propagated by the removal of offshoots or by leaf cuttings in spring or summer. To propagate by leaf cuttings, remove a leaf and let it lie for about one month, giving the wound time to heal. Then lay the leaf on its side with the basal part buried in the soil. This leaf should root within a month or two, and small plants will form at the leaf base. They can also be grown from seed.
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