Haworthia marxii

Haworthia marxii, near TL, near Rooinek Pass, NEW PHOTO
Haworthia marxii S.D. Gildenhuys

marxii: in honour of Gerhard Marx.

Following text was kindly provided by Gerhard Marx.

H. marxii was described by Sean D. Gildenhuys in Aloe Vol. 44, No. 1, 2007 , pages 4 to 8.
All indications are that it is an extremely rare and localized species, restricted to the southern aspects of mountain slopes in the Rooinek Pass south of Laingsburg. It superficially resembles H. bayeri and was upon initial discovery taken to be an extreme western form of the latter. For more than a decade afterwards it remained insufficiently known without any plants in cultivation or herbarium to study. Attempts to relocate it in the wild were unsussesful for more than a decade and it was finally rediscovered in October 2006 and could since then be properly studied.

Distribution map
Although it is of the same size and general appearance as H. bayeri and also to some extent H. picta, it soon became clear that it is not closely related to any of the latter. It flowers in mid summer, more than four months after the spring flowering bayeri and picta. Although clearly a member of the subgenus Haworthia it bears very thin and weak peduncles and the flowers are characterized by straight upper lobes of the perianth. Both the latter features compare closest to H. archeri and its var. dimorpha. However, it does not have the characteristic mottled fruit of the latter species and the closest relationships of H. marxii still remain somewhat mysterious.

Haworthia marxii, near TL, near Rooinek Pass, NEW PHOTO
Even its habitat is quite unsusual for such a large retusoid species. In all other cases such plants are normally found on tops or gentle slopes of low hills at an average altitude of 500m and sunken into the ground amongst stones and pebbles. In contrast H. marxii is found at 1 100m on steep slopes in pockets of soil amongst large boulders and frequently distortedly wedged into cracks and crevices. It has flatter and less swollen leaves than the average retusoid species and as a result the rosette is a rather flat disc shape when viewed from the side.

H. marxii is a extremely difficult species to grow, as Gerhard Marx says, one of the most difficult he has ever cultivated. Also the propagation seems to be a big problem, the only method seems to be from the seeds, but it is very slowly process.

Haworthia marxii, painting by Gerhard Marx

Jakub's note:
I can confirm that in my collection it is the most difficult species to grow (or at least keep alive). I have my oldest plants for 6-7 years now, but they haven´t flowered yet - but I hope soon they will. They need shady place and regular, but low watering.

I had opportunity to visit this magnificent species in habitat. It is true, that marxii is one of the most difficult plant to be find. There are several isolated populations, in most cases deep in the mountains several hours of walk. I´m proud that I found 'new' small population by myself and help to explore a bit more from the amazing surrounding mountains and valleys.

Typical habitat of H. marxii, near TL, near Rooinek Pass, NEW PHOTO
Haworthia marxii, near TL, near Rooinek Pass, NEW PHOTO

Haworthia marxii, near TL, near Rooinek Pass, NEW PHOTO
Haworthia marxii, near TL, near Rooinek Pass, NEW PHOTO
Haworthia marxii, near TL, near Rooinek Pass, NEW PHOTO
Haworthia marxii, near TL, near Rooinek Pass, NEW PHOTO
Haworthia marxii, near TL, near Rooinek Pass, NEW PHOTO
Haworthia marxii, NW of TL, near Rooinek Pass, NEW PHOTO
Haworthia marxii, NW of TL, near Rooinek Pass, NEW PHOTO

Haworthia marxii, TL, S. Rooinek Pass
Haworthia marxii, TL, S. Rooinek Pass
Haworthia marxii, TL, S. Rooinek Pass
Haworthia marxii, TL, S. Rooinek Pass
Haworthia marxii, TL, S. Rooinek Pass

Known locality:
  • Rooinek Pass, S. Laingsburg (3320BD)

1 comment:

Michael Charters said...

Very nice photos, especially the locality shot and the painting by Mr. Marx. If I could suggest, since it is a particular interest of mine and I think others, it would be nice to include a little biographical information about the people such as Mr. Marx who are honored by having their names on these plants.