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Origin and Habitat: Hawortha pumila (a.k.a. Haworthia margaritifera) is possibly the Haworthia occurring closest to Cape Town particularly around Worcester, Robertson, Ashton, Bonnievale, Montagu and Drew, Western Cape, South-Africa. The plant occurs in a winter rainfall area , which experiences mild frost, -2°C. Summers are hot, up to 44°C. Rainfall varies from 150 mm (Worcester area) to 350 mm (Montagu area). It is not endangered.
Habitat and ecology: The plant occurs in Karroid Broken Veld vegetation, pollinators include bees, moths, bumble bees, the Malachite and the Lesser Doubled-collared Sunbirds.
- Haworthia pumila (L.) Duval
Haworthia pumila (L.) Duval
Pl. Succ. Horto Alencon. 7 1809
- Haworthia pumila (L.) Duval
- Aloe arachnoides var. pumila (L.) Aiton
- Aloe margaritifera (L.) Burm.f.
- Aloe pumila L.
- Aloe pumila var. margaritifera L.
- Apicra margaritifera (L.) Willd.
- Catevala margaritifera (L.) Kuntze
- Haworthia margaritifera (L.) Haw.
- Tulista margaritifera (L.) Raf.
- Aloe granata Salm-Dyck
- Tulista pumila (L.) G.D.Rowley
- Aloe semimargaritifera var. minor Salm-Dyck
- Haworthia corallina Baker
- Haworthia margaritifera var. laevior (Salm-Dyck) Uitewaal
- Aloe subalbicans var. laevior Salm-Dyck
- Haworthia margaritifera subvar. laevior (Salm-Dyck) A.Berger
- Haworthia margaritifera var. semimargaritifera (Salm-Dyck) Baker
- Haworthia margaritifera var. subalbicans (Salm-Dyck) A.Berger
- Aloe subalbicans Salm-Dyck
- Haworthia margaritifera subvar. acuminata (Salm-Dyck) A.Berger
- Aloe subalbicans var. acuminata Salm-Dyck
- Haworthia margaritifera subvar. major (Salm-Dyck) A.Berger
- Haworthia margaritifera subvar. multipapillosa (Salm-Dyck) A.Berger
- Haworthia semiglabrata Haw.
- Haworthia semimargaritifera var. multiperla Haw.
- Haworthia pumila cv. Tenshi no Namida
ENGLISH: Pearl Plant
AFRIKAANS (Afrikaans): Seepaalwyn, Kleinaalwyn, Vratjiesaalwyn
Description: Haworthia pumila (a.k.a. Haworthia margaritifera) is one of the most impressive and eventually large species of the genus easily distinguished by its slender, pointed leaves with white tubercles, which in some cultivars may be dough-nut shaped. It is one of the larger Haworthias, but slow growing and will take years to reach its mature dimension.
Habit: The plant is a succulent that looks like a miniature aloe. The plants live for about 30 to 40 years if they are cultivated properly.
Rosette: More or less stemless, compact, up to 15 cm across and 25-30 cm tall.
Leaves: 7-14 cm long about 2 cm wide at the base, triangular-ovate to broadly lanceolate, upright and incurving, dark brownish-green, both surfaces prominently covered in large white tubercles in indistinct rows, and particularly conspicuous on the underside of the leaf surface. The tubercles are more or less round and raised.
Inflorescence: The flower spike is approx. 400 mm tall.
Flowers: Somewhat larger than in other species, greenish to brownish-white in colour and waxy in texture (usually Haworthia flowers are white, not in this case).
Booming season: Early summer. Seed ripens in autumn. It grows relatively slowly from seed and it takes about 5 years for a plant to reach flowering maturity.
Subspecies, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Haworthia pumila group
Notes: The hybrid genus x Astroworthia Rowley contains hybrids between Astroloba aspera and Haworthia pumila and occurs naturally in the wild in South Africa.
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) Gordon D. Rowley “The illustrated encyclopedia of succulents” Crown Publishers, 01/Aug/1978
2) Urs Eggli “Illustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants: Monocotyledons” Springer, 2001
3) Charles L. Scott “The genus Haworthia (Liliaceae): a taxonomic revision” Aloe Books, 1985
4) Stuart Max Walters “The European Garden Flora: Pteridophyta, Gymbospermae, Angiospermae-Monocotyledons” Cambridge University Press, 1984
5) M. B. Bayer “The new Haworthia handbook” National Botanic Gardens of South Africa, 1982
6) John Pilbeam “Haworthia and Astroloba: A Collector's Guide” B. T. Batsford Limited, 1983
7) Bruce Bayer “Haworthia revisited: a revision of the genus” Umdaus Press, 1999
8) Debra Lee Baldwin “Succulent Container Gardens: Design Eye-Catching Displays with 350 Easy-Care Plants” Timber Press, 20/gen/2010
9) Rauh “Schöne Kakteen und andere Sukkulenten” 1978
10) M. B. Bayer “The new Haworthia handbook” National Botanic Gardens of South Africa, 19
11) Germishuizen, G., Meyer, N.L., Steenkamp, Y. & Keith, M. (eds) “A Checklist of South African plants.” Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 41. SABONET, Pretoria.2006.
12) Bayer, M.B. 1999. "Haworthia revisited. A revision of the genus." Umdaus Press, Pretoria.
13) Bayer, M.B and van Jaarsveld, E. 2001. ”Haworthia. in Illustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants: Monocotyledons.” Springer, Berlin.
14) Mottram, R. 2000. “Haworthia pumila, margaritifera, or what?” Haworthiad Vol.14(1)22-24pp.
Cultivation and Propagation: Haworthia pumila are of easy cultivation and relatively low maintenance, which makes them a good houseplant, and can be excellent subjects 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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