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Accepted Scientific Name: Haworthia turgida Haw.
Suppl. Pl. Succ. 22. 1819 [May 1819] Haw.
Origin and Habitat: Republic of South Africa (Western Cape: Swellendam to Riversdale).
Habitat: Haworthia turgida grows on limestone hills and on slates mainly protected from strong sunlight in the shade of thorn bushes. However it will stand more direct sunlight than others.
Haworthia turgida Haw.
Suppl. Pl. Succ. 22. 1819 [May 1819]
- Haworthia turgida Haw.
- Haworthia caespitosa f. subplana Poelln.
- Haworthia caespitosa f. subproliferans Poelln.
- Haworthia laetevirens Haw.
- Haworthia rodinii hort.
- Haworthia turgida f. caespitosa (Poelln.) Pilbeam
- Haworthia caespitosa Poelln.
- Haworthia turgida f. subproliferans Poelln.
Haworthia turgida var. longibracteata (G.G.Sm.) M.B.Bayer
Haworthia Revisited 154 (1999)
- Haworthia turgida var. longibracteata (G.G.Sm.) M.B.Bayer
Haworthia turgida var. suberecta Poelln.
Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. 44: 134 1938.
- Haworthia turgida var. suberecta Poelln.
- Haworthia turgida f. suberecta (Poelln.) Pilbeam
- Haworthia turgida var. erecta hort.
- Haworthia turgida var. pallidifolia G.G.Sm.
- Haworthia turgida var. subtuberculata Poelln.
Description: This is one of the small pale green Haworthias Named for the apparently swollen or turgid leaves. Haworthia turgida offsetts freely from the base and soon forms a dense dainty rounded cluster with glassy green leaves with "crystalline" textures. It varies widely among populations of this species. Nowhere in the genus Haworthia is variability illustrated more clearly than in this species. The different clones vary in leaf size, shape, marking, and growth habit.
Rosettes: Compact, 5-6,5(-10) cm in diameter, almost stemless with 20 to 40 tightly packed leaves.
Leaves: 1-4 cm long and up to1,2 cm broad, ovate-lanceolate to long-triangular, fleshy, turgid, often as thick as broad, recurved at the tip or slightly retuse, smooth and somewhat pellucid in the upper part of the face, usually grey-green or yellow-green, with 3-7 longitudinal green lines and generally mottled with whitish flocks, margins and keel smooth or lightly spined. In winter chill, strong light or under excessive drought stress, the leaves blush burgundy.
Inflorescence: Scape few-flowered, upright, wiry, 15 - 20 cm tall.
Flowers: Approximatively 20 to 30, tiny, slender, tubular brownish-white with darker venation.
Blooming season: Spring.
Subspecies, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Haworthia turgida group
- Haworthia turgida Haw.: Leaves turgid,slightly retuse, yellow-green to pink in sun, generally mottled. Distribution: Western Cape (Swellendam to Riversdale)
- Haworthia turgida var. longibracteata (G.G.Sm.) M.B.Bayer: Leaves more erect, ovate lanceolate. Distribution: Western cape.
- Haworthia turgida var. suberecta Poelln.: Leaves tips truncate and rounded, green to purplish and very mottled. Distribution Western Cape.
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) Stuart Max Walters “The European Garden Flora: Pteridophyta, Gymbospermae, Angiospermae-Monocotyledons” Cambridge University Press, 1984
2) M. B. Bayer “The new Haworthia handbook” National Botanic Gardens of South Africa, 1982
3) John Pilbeam “Haworthia and Astroloba: A Collector's Guide” Batsford, 1983
4) Urs Eggli “Illustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants: Monocotyledons” Springer, 2001
5) John Robert Brown “Unusual plants: 110 spectacular photographs of succulents” Abbey Garden Press, 1954
6) Pauline Bohnen “Flowering plants of the Southern Cape” Still Bay Trust, 1986
Cultivation and Propagation: Haworthia 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). Haworthias are winter growers and are dormant in the hottest summer months.
Growth rate: They are relatively fast-growing plants that offsets freely to form small clusters quickly.
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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