Haworthia cymbiformis

(Haw.) Duval var. cymbiformis

Family: Asphodelaceae
Common names:
Cathedral window haworthia (English)

Haworthia cymbiformis

This is a succulent plant with a restricted distribution in southern Africa . The succulent leaves of this relatively small plant allow it to withstand the harsh scorching conditions in some parts of the region. It is mainly found on rocky surfaces.

Harworthia cymbiformis is a succulent, ground covering plant which is relatively small in size, with clusters of the plant reaching a height of 6 inches. Haworthia cymbiformis has rosettes of evergreen leaves. The leaves are succulent and often light green in colour. The leaves further have the striking characteristic that their ends are translucent. The whitish flowers are long and tubular with thin stems. Flowering time is from mid spring or early summer. These plants are able to grow relatively fast, with the growth rate greatly influenced by factors such as water availability, supplementary feeding and suitability of the environment.

Plant showing roots

Conservation status
This plant is currently Red Listed as Least Concern (LC) and is not endangered.

Distribution and habitat
This plant is widespread between Port Elizabeth, the Mbhashe/ Bashee River and inland to Cathcart. This plant cannot survive frost or low winter temperatures, however it can survive short droughts as well as high temperatures without water.

Derivation of name and historical aspects
More than 70 southern African species of succulent plants are included in the genus Haworthia. The genus was named after Adrian H. Haworth (1768–1833), an English botanist.

These plants have adapted to to best in soils with a pH of between 6.1 and 7.6. Haworthia cymbiformis seeds are dispersed by wind.

Uses and cultural aspects
There are no known cultural or medicinal uses known for Haworthia cymbiformis.

Growing in a pot

Growing Haworthia cymbiformis

These plants are easy to grow in summer rainfall areas, without too much water

Haworthia cymbiformis prefers a sunny to half-shady environment. It grows best in sandy-gritty soil that is dry or moderately moist. The growing season of these plants is usually during the summer rainfall months . If the plants are watered during the wrong time of the year, they may be killed. Occasional watering is required accompanied with systemic insecticides. This will keep the plant free of mealy bugs, which are the plant's main pests. Plants are propagated by dividing rhizomes. It can also be propagated from leaf cuttings—allow the cut surface to callous over before planting. To propagate plants from seed, sow directly after the season's last frost.


  • Pienaar, K. 1987. The A–Z of garden flowers in South Africa . Struik Publishers, Cape Town.
  • Pooley, E. 1998. A field guide to wild flowers KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern region. Natal Flora Publication Trust, Durban.
  • Pooley, E. 2003. Mountain flowers, a field guide to the flora of the Drakensberg and Lesotho. The Flora Publication Trust, Durban.


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Sthembile Zondi

KwaZulu-Natal National Botanical Garden

August 2013



To find out if SANBI has seed of this or other SA species, please email our seedroom.

This page forms part of the South African National Biodiversity Institute's plant information website www.plantzafrica.com