The Haworthia Society and Conservation

One of the major objectives of the Haworthia Society is to support the conservation of endangered plants. Since, for the general public, attractive creatures such as pandas and whales have greater appeal, the onus is on plant-lovers to offer support to Haworthias, aloes and other relatively insignificant plants.

For many years the Society has discouraged the removal of rare and endangered plants from the wild. Since these are often the most desirable in the eyes of collectors, it has encouraged the conservation of such plants in cultivation by distributing choice and documented seed among its members.

We have now reached a new state in our endeavours by supporting the protection of a Haworthia in the wild. The rare and attractive Haworthia splendens has a very restricted distribution in South Africa. So far only two sites containing this plant have been discovered, one with a mere handful of plants and the other with about 200 specimens. Recently the latter site has been found to be suffering from the depredations of a thriving porcupine population, who are wreaking havoc in their search for food.

The Haworthia Society is collaborating with the British Cactus and Succulent Society in an attempt to save this Haworthia population. Jointly, the two organisations are providing the funding to erect a porcupine-proof fence around the area. An account of this project can be found in the February 2011 issue of our journal Haworthiad.

Bill Keen

Haworthiad Editor (2002-11)