This is a tall, robust plant by vygie standards with large metallic
pink, white or light purple flowers.
Lampranthus haworthii is a tall, compact, erect subshrub
that can grow as tall as 700 mm and as wide as 1 m. The leaves are
fused at the base and are 40 x 6 mm, cylindrical in shape and bluish
green in colour. The flowers are 70 mm in diameter and are borne
on a pedicel (stem), 20 to 40 mm long. Flower colour ranges from
white, pale pink to light mauve. Flowering time is from mid-July
Lampranthus haworthii occurs in the Little Karoo and Worcester/Robertson
Karoo and is fairly common in and around the Worcester area. They
are primarily winter rainfall plants. The genus Lampranthus
occurs mainly in the Western Cape, Northern Cape and southern Namibia,
although some species do occur in Eastern Cape as well.
Derivation of name and historical aspects:
The name is derived from the Greek words, lampros (bright)
and anthos (flower), referring to the large, showy flowers.
Lampranthus is one of the largest genera in the Aizoaceae
family. The genus consists of 227 species and 13 varieties. The
species haworthii is named after a British succulent expert,
Adrian Haworth (1768-1853).
Plants are pollinated by insects at midday when flowers are fully
open. Mainly bees do this job. The flowers open at 10 a.m. and close
at 3 p.m. Swollen leaves full of water, ensure the survival of the
plant during long, hot and dry spells, especially the summers in
the winter rainfall areas. Brightly coloured flowers are like beacons
to pollinators, ensuring good seed production.
Another adaptation for survival for mesembs is the abundance of
seeds that are produced. Seeds are released by means of winged valves
that open when wet. There are layers of membranes in these valves
that ensure all the seed are not released in one go. If this was
the case and no follow-up rains fell, the seedlings would all die,
which could compromise the very survival of a rare species. The
more seeds there are, the better the chances of germination and
ultimately the survival of the species.
Uses and cultural aspects:
There are no medicinal or traditional uses associated with these
plants. They are, however, sought out for their use in the garden.
Lampranthus haworthii is popular in the horticultural industry.
The plants are very showy, tough and make fantastic water-wise subjects.
Growing Lampranthus haworthii
To achieve optimum results, strike cuttings either in spring or
autumn. Cuttings 100 -120 mm in length should be used. Tip cuttings
that have relatively new growth should be used. Avoid old, woody
or diseased material.
Plants can also be grown from seed. The best time for sowing seed
is in spring or autumn. Avoid sowing seed in the cold of winter
and the extreme heat of summer, unless you have a controlled environment.
Use flat, plastic seed pans for sowing. Under ideal conditions,
fresh, viable seed will germinate within 3 - 5 days.
seed in well-drained, loamy soil. The top layer can be sieved, coarse
river sand. If you do cover the seed, cover, 1 mm and no deeper!
Water with a fine spray. Do not use water under force or a jet of
water as this is likely to blast the seed out of its container.
A suggested garden layout is to combine this particular species
with other related species in mixed or single colour groups. Other
bright-coloured species are
Lampranthus multiradiatus, L.
aureus and L. reptans. L. glaucoides can also
be used in rock gardens, on steep slopes or embankments as mass
plantings. L.affinis is a good
choice for shady spots. Remember that L. haworthii plants
are tall, so plant at the back of your garden layout.
Not many pests attack these plants. Occasionally, plants suffer
from soft brown scale or mealie bug. Use a systemic pesticide or
oleum mineral oil.
Feeding tips: use compost, bone meal or a seaweed-based organic
fertilizer, which will enhance healthy growth of plants.
- Jacobsen, H. 1974. Lexicon of succulent plants.
Blandford Press, London.
- Smith, G.F. et al. 1998. Mesembs of the world.
Briza Publications, Pretoria.
Karoo Desert NBG