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Haworthia emelyae var. comptoniana CACTUS ART
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Haworthia emelyae comptoniana
W. Willowmore, road to de Rust.

 

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 A longitudinal section showing the fenestrate
leaves with the translucent tissues.


The leaf tissues are translucent or even  transparent

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Contractile roots  pull the plant deeper into the soil to protect the plant from sun and heat.

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Family: Asphodelaceae (Aloacee - Liliaceae)

Scientific Name: Haworthia emelyae var. comptoniana  (G.G. Sm.) J.D. Venter & S.A. Hammer

Locality:  West of Willowmore - road to De Rust

Habitat:
South Africa (Georgida), in the Willowmore District. This plant comes from a very small area no larger than 10 by 15 metres in quartz patches, it often grows under stones.  It is very rare in the field. 

Etymology: The genus name "Haworthia" is named after the British botanist Adrian Hardy Haworth (17671833)
The species name "emelyae"
was named after Mrs. Emely Ferguson, Riversdale, RSA

The variety name
"comptoniana" was named in honour of Prof. R.H. Compton.

Description: Generally solitary, its growth is almost entirely subterranean, with only the leaves' apex exposed to the atmosphere at the soil level (see: geophyte plants)
Stem: Stemless rosette succulent.
Leaves:
Broad triangular, (4-5cm long and 2cm wide at the base). The retuse leaf-end area is pellucid and reticulate with pale white-flecked "veins" running into lines that converge at the apex.  These leaves form a stemless rosette that is 5-9 cm in diameter, up to 120 mm in cultivation, with 15 to 20 leaves (plants in habitat are barely 3 cm across!). The reticulation and relative length of the leaves are quite variable. The tops of the leaves near the centre of the plant becomes reddish in winter and in sunny expositions.
Flower: 2-lipped white with greenish veins, borne on a 20 cm tall inflorescence.

Notes: The diversity between H. emelyae and this variety is the smoothness and dimension of the plants, they are usually smoother and larger sized.
 

 

 

 
In a half shade (with a few hours of sun) the green reticulated fenestration of this plant turn to a rich red-brown. Very nice!


Contractile roots
are found in many plants species mainly at the base of an underground organ (bulb, corm, succulent rosette, etc.)

The contractile roots continually pull the plants deeper into the  ground as the stem elongates so the it remain subterranean or at an appropriate level in the ground.. Contractile roots are usually broad, fleshy, vertical, tapering, wrinkled looking and very distinct of the rather cylindrical fine absorbent roots and are capable of incredible effort.

In most cases, contractile roots not only produce a strong pulling force on but also push away the substratum and create a soil channel in which plant movement is made easier. For example in Haworthia the fleshy contractile roots swell with moisture in the wet season creating a space in the substrate then - after the full drying out of soil during the dry season - a considerable parts of this roots die off leaving empty spaces in the substratum that allow plant movement with minimum or no resistance, at the same time the other roots dehydrates and shrinks vertically, drawing the plant down into the ground. This is repeated early permitting the top of the plant to remain constantly at the soil level.

Cultivation:  Easy to cultivate, it needs regular water. Frost Tolerance:  Light frost protection required.  Minimum of 5 C for safe growing (but hardy up to -5C.) Sun Exposure: Requires light shade, up to bright light (protect from direct sun)

Propagation: Seeds, offsets, micropropagation. 

Photo of conspecific taxa, varieties, forms and cultivars of Haworthia emelyae:

Home | E-mail | Plant files | Mail Sale Catalogue | Links | Information | Search

All the information and photos in cactus art files are now available also in the new the Encyclopaedia of Succulents. We hope you find this new site informative and useful.