Haworthia arachnoidea

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Haworthia arachnoidea
Haworthia arachnoidea.jpg
Haworthia arachnoidea
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Asphodelaceae
Subfamily: Asphodeloideae
Genus: Haworthia
Species: H. arachnoidea
Binomial name
Haworthia arachnoidea

Haworthia arachnoidea, locally known as "papierrosie" (paper-rose) or "spinnekopnes" (spider-nest), is the type species of the genus Haworthia, in the family Asphodelaceae, in the Western Cape Province of South Africa.[1]


Haworthia arachnoidea top view
Form from the Tanqua Karoo
Form from Worcester, dried and contracted from drought
Typical plant in cultivation

The plant has numerous dark green leaves, covered in translucent bristles, in a dense rosette. The leaves themselves are without translucent tips, unlike some other Haworthia species. The rosettes dry and contract in the arid summers.

It is sometimes confused with the widespread Haworthia decipiens (decipiens = deceptive) which occurs in the Great Karoo to the east. However H. decipiens has shorter, flatter, wider leaves; a lighter colour; translucent leaf tips; larger and sparser bristles which are mainly only on the leaf margins; and only a very weak leaf keel.[2]


This most well-known form of this species occurs in the Breede River valley, in the areas of Worcester and Robertson (H. arachnoidea var. arachnoidea). Other varieties of this same species occur northwards into the Namaqualand (var. namaquensis), and eastwards as far as Port Elizabeth (vars. xiphiophylla, aranea and setata).

It occurs in a wide range of habitats and usually in the shelter of protective rocks and shading plants. It is a widespread and extremely variable species, with no typical form. There are also a range of intermediate forms between this species and some of its neighbouring species.

Intermediate forms exist in the transition between this species and Haworthia decipiens to the east. Also with Haworthia mucronata to the south-east. Many of these intermediates are treated as a variety, and given the name Haworthia arachnoidea var. nigricans. To the north, it joins its relative, Haworthia nortieri.[3]

Subordinate Taxa[edit]

  • Haworthia arachnoidea var. arachnoidea (autonym)
  • Haworthia arachnoidea var. aranea (A.Berger)M.B.Bayer
  • Haworthia arachnoidea var. calitzdorpensis (Breuer)Breuer
  • Haworthia arachnoidea var. namaquensis M.B.Bayer
  • Haworthia arachnoidea var. nigricans (Haw.) M.B.Bayer
  • Haworthia arachnoidea var. scabrispina M.B.Bayer
  • Haworthia arachnoidea var. setata (Haw.) M.B.Bayer