What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered…
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
Haworthia is a large genus of succulent plants endemic to Southern Africa. Many of them form compact miniature rosettes, and contain leaf windows with glass-like translucent panels. Haworthias are the stars of the Asphodelaceae family, and among 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 miters, 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 and H. turgida 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.