When the management of greenhouse was in its infancy, when collections were not so numerous as at present; succulents were held in the highest repute. That was the Golden Age of succulent plants.
– Adrian Haworth. Aloe. 1804.
Haworthia is a large genus of succulent plants endemic to Southern Africa, named after the British botanist Adrian Hardy Haworth (1767–1833). Many of Haworthias form compact miniature rosettes and contain leaf windows with glass-like translucent panels. Haworthia is the star of family Asphodelaceae and one of the most popular succulents.
While most succulents like full sun, Haworthias are more adapted for semi-shade conditions, often growing under shrubby plants or rock overhands. This characteristic makes them to have few competitors in dry areas.
Haworthias are extremely hard to be found in their native habitats. The population size of Haworthias is small. Often within several meters, tens to hundreds of individuals grow together. On the other hand, their populations are fragmented and the distances are measured often in kilometers. In a regular field trip for succulents, you will mostly see H. viscosa or H. cymbiformis. With good luck you may find H. arachnoidea. Other common species in cultivation like H. retusa can barely be found. So far the recognized Haworthia species mainly grow near cities or roads. There are more yet to be discovered for sure.
A wonderful feature of Haworthias is the great variation in the appearance. Textures and colors vary greatly among individuals and often display exceptionally attractive combinations. Growers carefully select parents and then hybridize, to create more fascinating varieties. Though the children’s combinations of features can only be guessed, the results will seldom disappoint. The people who enjoy Haworthia hybrids, have a true admiration for the beauty of each individual plant.