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Haworthia truncata is a stemless proliferous species with abruptly truncated and square leaf tips, the leaves being arranged in two exactly opposite rows (distichously). The leaf form has the local name in Afrikaans of ‘Perderande’ meaning ‘Horse Teeth’.  Flowers are white with brownish veins possible, inflorescence (stem) to around 20cms.

Fig.1H.truncata on a wet day

 Fig. 1 Haworthia truncata on a wet day in habitat

H. truncata is found in a number of places in and around the Oudtshoorn area of South Africa. My good friend, Jakub Jilemicky from Praha, has recorded the species in 12 separate localities, (see http://haworthia-gasteria.com). In habitat it grows almost buried in the ground with just the leaf tips visible. In cultivation it is grown well above the soil showing the complete extent of the leaves.

 Fig2 H.truncata

Fig. 3 Haworthia truncata

In our hobby H. truncata is probably the first Haworthia to be seen and sought after by most people, certainly so in my case. I first saw the plant at a local show of the Birmingham Branch of what was then the National Cactus & Succulent Society. It was responsible for my introduction into the hobby, the rest as they say is history.

Fig3 H truncata

 Fig. 3 Haworthia truncata

H. truncata is not a difficult plant to grow, it requires, as with most succulents a well-drained compost mix, the growing season in the UK is from April to early July, and then again from September through to end of October. Flowering time is mainly September/October.

The plant is easy to propagate from seed and offset. Leaf and root propagation require there to be some stem tissue to be present.

 Fig.4 H.truncata

Fig. 4 Haworthia truncata

It is not unusual for whole collections to be of H. truncata, grown for both leaf shape and leaf patterns. The plant is also used extensively in hybridisation producing some extraordinarily beautiful cultivars. In particular the Japanese have exploited the range of variation within the species to create some recognised named hybrid/cultivars.

Alan Rollason

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