This name exemplifies one of the quirks of botanical nomenclature.
How can the biggest of the Haworthias (each rosette up to 25 cm tall and about 15 cm across) be called a dwarf? It only makes sense when you know that the plant was originally described as an Aloe, and as such it is a dwarf of course.
H. pumila is found from Worcester to Montagu (as far south as the northern foothills of the Riviersonderend Mountains) and in the southwest corner of the Great Karoo. Usually the plants consist of a single rosette, but over time they may (slowly) produce additional ones.
The first two pictures were taken just north of Matjiesfontein in late July, the third one south east of McGregor in the same period;
Pictures four and five are from the Aneysberg Nature Reserve (late September) and the last two show plants in the uncultivated part of the Montagu Nature Garden (same period).
In their most typical form, these plants are easy to identify, because of the more or less rounded, rather than flat rosettes (see first two pictures).
When they don’t have this give-away shape, one has to have a closer look at the leaves and spines, which are firm and stiff.
Locality is also important, as they only occur in the southwestern corner of the great Karoo and the adjacent part of the Little Karoo.
Although rather variable, this species is easy to identify (H. nigra is the only other Haworthia in which the leaves are arranged in three ranks). The species is tall as Haworthias go: up to 30 cm. It is widely distributed from halfway between Laingsburg and Sutherland, throughout the central, eastern and southern Karoo and the Little Karoo, with an outlying habitat near Graaff-Reinet. In shade the plants are green, but one often encounters them in very arid places in full sun, where they usually become brownish, reddish or orange.
Of the four varieties of Haw. scabra, this one is the most widely distributed, from Ladismith to Willowmore. The leaves often have a peculiar twist.
This beautiful species occurs from near Willowmore to just west of Oudtshoorn.
Unfortunately, the place near De Rust where these pictures were taken is now almost completely stripped of this and other interesting succulents. A result of plain unadulterated greed!
The first four pictures were taken between 18 and 28 Sept., the other two 20 Nov.
Today for the first time after my move, I saw fit to get out to take some pictures in the area.
Several years ago I found plants of Haworthia maraisii v. maraisii on the outskirts of Montagu and as it happens I now live just a few hundred meters from that locality. Although I thought I had a good idea where they grew, I had searched a few times before without spotting them again. That was a bit frustrating, especially because the habitat is along a signposted trail, in open terrain, maybe a hundred meters from a tarred road.
After I found the first plant today, I spent quite a while trying to find more specimens. In the end it became clear that they only occurred on a rocky outcrop of not more than 3 or 4 square meters.
As the photos will show, the plants are usually well hidden in patches of coarse sand or between stones. In the second photo you will also see Adromischus filicaulis ssp. marlothii.
This plant is only known from 3 localities north-east of Calitzdorp. Photographed 28 June 2008.