Haworthia emelyae var. comptoniana


Haworthia emelyae var. comptoniana

Haworthia emelyae var. comptoniana is a succulent that forms stemless, usually solitary rosettes. Its growth is almost entirely underground…

Haworthia Species

Family: Asphodelaceae (as-foh-del-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Haworthia (ha-WORTH-ee-a) (Info)
Species: emelyae var. comptoniana
Synonym:Haworthia comptoniana
Synonym:Haworthia comptoniana f. major
Synonym:Haworthia picta var. comptoniana
Synonym:Haworthia retusa var. comptoniana


Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs Water regularly do not overwater

Sun Exposure:


Foliage Color:




USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 °C (40 °F)

Where to Grow:

Can be grown as an annual

Suitable for growing in containers


Bloom Color:

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Bloom Time:

Other details:

Soil pH requirements:

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:

Allow cut surface to callous over before planting

From seed direct sow after last frost

From seed germinate in vitro in gelatin, agar or other medium

Seed Collecting:

Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed

Allow pods to dry on plant break open to collect seeds

Seed does not store well sow as soon as possible


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Casa de Oro-Mount Helix, California

Vista, California(9 reports)

Gardeners' Notes:

On Jun 1, 2009, vossner from East Texas,
United States (Zone 8a) wrote:

I grow mine as houseplants and they forgive me for giving them almost no care.

On Oct 9, 2007, thistlesifter from Vista, CA wrote:

One of the easiest of all Haworthia subgenus Haworthia plants. It has infinite variability within its Identification key bounds.

Additionally, is readily hybridized in ways that can be enhancing to its own children offspring characteristics. or that can offer unique qualities to many of the more beautiful species from whom it can fathers new crosses..

On Feb 15, 2005, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

This species rarely produces suckers (pups).

If you are not familiar with its cultivation, research information on growing and/or propagating techniques because a haworthia requires special care that is too detailed to list here.

Haworthia emelyae var. comptoniana - garden

Accepted Scientific Name: Haworthia emelyae var. comptoniana (G.G.Sm.) J.D.Venter & S.A.Hammer
Cact. Succ. J. (Los Angeles) 69(2): 77. 1997

Origin and Habitat: South Africa (Georgida), in the Willowmore District.
Habitat: This plant comes from a very small area no larger than 10 by 15 metres in quartz patches and often grows under stones. It is very rare in the field and grows in very close association with Haworthia bayeri.

Description: Haworthia emelyae var. comptoniana is a distinct variety most sought after for the flattened, entirely smooth leaf-ends, and is particularly attractive. The plants are bigger than in Haworthia emelyae (the nearest relative), growing up to 120 mm in diameter in cultivation. Where H. emelyae is generally tinted purplish-brown, H. comptoniana is usually green.
Habit: Stemless rosette succulent, generally solitary, its growth is almost entirely subterranean, with only the leaves' apex exposed to the atmosphere at the soil level (see: geophyte plants)
Life span: They may not be very long-lived in nature with a life span of 15-20 years.
Rosette: These leaves form a stemless rosette, seldom proliferous, usually 5-9(-12) cm in diameter, with 15 to 20 leaves (plants in habitat are barely 3 cm across!).
Leaves: Broad triangular, (4-5 cm long and 2 cm wide at the base). The retuse leaf-end area is pellucid and reticulate with pale white-flecked "veins" running into lines that converge at the apex. The colour, reticulation and relative length of the leaves are quite variable some are pale coloured with little contrast between the reticulation and the background colour and translucence of the leaf. Other plants are darker coloured or with more conspicuous specks and marked reticulation, and they are are much more attractive.
Flower: 2-lipped white with greenish veins, borne on a 20 cm tall inflorescence.
Remarks: The diversity between Haworthia emelyae and this variety is the smoothness and dimension of the plants, they are usually smoother and larger sized.

Subspecies, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Haworthia emeliae group

  • Haworthia emelyae Poelln. : has triangular tuberculateleaves usually marked with brown, lilac or pink in full sun, but extremely variable and slow-growing. Western Cape, Little Karoo, Avontuur to Springfontein.
  • Haworthia emelyae var. comptoniana" href='/Encyclopedia/SUCCULENTS/Family/Aloaceae/13358/Haworthia_emelyae_var._comptoniana'> Haworthia emelyae var. comptoniana (G.G.Sm.) J.D.Venter & S.A.Hammer : Generally solitary, its growth is almost entirely subterranean. Leaves are broad triangular, reticulate with pale white-flecked "veins" running into lines that converge at the apex.
  • Haworthia emelyae var. major" href='/Encyclopedia/SUCCULENTS/Family/Aloaceae/13353/Haworthia_emelyae_var._major'> Haworthia emelyae var. major (G.G.Sm.) M.B.Bayer : Leaves acuminate with an apical spine.
  • Haworthia emelyae var. multifolia" href='/Encyclopedia/SUCCULENTS/Family/Aloaceae/13361/Haworthia_emelyae_var._multifolia'> Haworthia emelyae var. multifolia M.B.Bayer : Rosettes with 20-30 erected leaves.
  • Haworthia picta" href='/Encyclopedia/SUCCULENTS/Family/Aloaceae/13368/Haworthia_picta'> Haworthia picta Poelln. : is one of the most attractive species with leaf tips nicely spotted and turn a tan colour in strong light. Distribution: between Rooiberg and Oudtshoorn at farm Keurkloof and as well South of Vanwykskraal
  • Haworthia picta var. janvlokii Breuer : is a largest form and is may be a kind of connection to H. comptoniana. Distribution: Kammanassie Dam area.
  • Haworthia picta var. tricolor" href='/Encyclopedia/SUCCULENTS/Family/Aloaceae/13370/Haworthia_picta_var._tricolor'> Haworthia picta var. tricolor Breuer : has a scabrid leave surface, but intergrading with typical H. picta. Distribution: Rooiberg area and also between of Rooiberg and Oudtshoorn at farm Keurkloof and as well South of Vanwykskraal.

Notes: Contractile roots are found in many plants species mainly at the base of an underground organ (bulb, corm, succulent rosette, etc.) The contractile roots continually pull the plants deeper into the ground as the stem elongates so the it remain subterranean or at an appropriate level in the ground.. Contractile roots are usually broad, fleshy, vertical, tapering, wrinkled looking and very distinct of the rather cylindrical fine absorbent roots and are capable of incredible effort.
In most cases, contractile roots not only produce a strong pulling force on but also push away the substratum and create a soil channel in which plant movement is made easier. For example in Haworthia the fleshy contractile roots swell with moisture in the wet season creating a space in the substrate then - after the full drying out of soil during the dry season - a considerable parts of this roots die off leaving empty spaces in the substratum that allow plant movement with minimum or no resistance, at the same time the other roots dehydrates and shrinks vertically, drawing the plant down into the ground. This is repeated early permitting the top of the plant to remain constantly at the soil level.

Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) Urs Eggli “Illustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants: Monocotyledons” Springer, 01/gen/2001
2) M. B. Bayer “The new Haworthia handbook” National Botanic Gardens of South Africa, 1982
3) John Pilbeam “Haworthia and Astroloba: A Collector's Guide” 1983
4) Stuart Max Walters, James Cullen “The European Garden Flora: Pteridophyta, Gymnospermae, Angiospermae” Cambridge University Press, 1986
5) John Robert Brown "Unusual Plants:110 Spectacular Photographs of Succulents" Abbey Garden Press, 1954
6) Doreen Court “Succulent Flora of Southern Africa” Struik Nature, 2010
7) Bayer, MB “Haworthia Revisited: A revision of the genus” Umdaus Press, Hatfield. 1999
8) Hilton-Taylor, C.. “Red data list of southern African plants.” Strelitzia 4. South African National Botanical Institute, Pretoria. 1996
9) Bruce Bayer "Leaf sequence in Haworthia emelyae ‘comptoniana’ over a 20 month period" Posted on August 29, 2013, http://haworthiaupdates.org/category/emelyae/

Haworthia comptoniana (Haworthia emelyae var. comptoniana) Photo by: Cactus Art
Haworthia comptoniana (Haworthia emelyae var. comptoniana) Photo by: Cactus Art
The leaf tissues are translucent or even transparent (Haworthia emelyae var. comptoniana) Photo by: Cactus Art
A longitudinal section showing the fenestrate leaves with the translucent tissues. (Haworthia emelyae var. comptoniana) Photo by: Cactus Art

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