Dr. Karl von Poellnitz (1896 - 1945), an agronomist from Altenburg, Germany, was
a keen collector and observer of haworthias and other succulents. From 1929 to 1945 he
published as author or co-author 215 new names, 175 of them were new taxa and 40 were
new combinations. During the last days of the Second World War he died when a bomb
destroyed his home. Fortunately he had sent most of the haworthias he described to the
Botanical Museum of Berlin-Dahlem (B), where they were photographed and preserved. The
preserved specimen were destroyed during the Second World War but, fortunately again,
the photographs were not destroyed. Poellnitz himself also made photographs of his plants,
which later came via Prof. Werdermann in 1948 into the possession of the museum. The
photographs of his plants have not been recognized by any botanists, except M.B. Bayer
who, in 1971 designated a few as lectotypes.
In 1997 Breuer & Metzing had access to the photographs. Most of the photos of the types were still unpublished and few had been used to designate lectotypes. In 1997 Breuer & Metzing used the photos to typify the names they accepted in Haworthia, based on Bayer's concept from 1982, but without publishing the photos. In 1998 Breuer, Borgmann & Metzing in Breuer's 'World of Haworthia - volume 1' used most of the photos from the Botanical Museum of Berlin-Dahlem (B) to designate types for the Poellnitz names, but also without publishing the photos. In Breuer's 'World of Haworthia - volume 2' [in print] further types for Poellnitz names will be designated. In this volume all the photos of the type plants will be shown, but because of space only in column-widths.
Because of the beauty and singularity of these 60 year old photographs, they will be presented in this book in either actual size, or, for most, as enlargements. Most include a scale to show the correct size. The quality of some originals was very poor, which is the reason why some reproductions are also rather poor. But you will be able to recognize all the plants in the photos and you should be able to compare them with living material in collections. The full descriptions of the plants and other additional notes are published in Breuer's 'World of Haworthia - volume 2', but here the origin of the plant and its typification are cited to complete the information about these plants.
During a review of material in the herbarium of the Botanical Museum Berlin-Dahlem (B) in September 1999, for a revision of Haworthia names by Von Poellnitz, several alcohol preserved Haworthia specimens were found and examined. The labels on the jars make it certain that these specimens, which were described by Von Poellnitz between 1930 and 1933, had escaped the destruction of holotypes during the Second World War because, fortunately, the alcohol preserved were not in the part of the building which was destroyed in 1943. The following holotypes were found: H. confusa, H. fallax, H. gigas, H. haageana, H. incurvula, H. inermis, H. integra, H. magnifica, H. starkiana, H. tenera and H. tuberculata. The discovery of these specimen is a very important event, especially in the cases of H. confusa, H. gigas, H. integra, H. magnifica and H. tenera, because there are no photos of the types available, which normally were taken by the staff of the herbarium before preservation. Therefore, this was the first possibility for the author to compare authentic material with the descriptions. The photos of the types of H. fallax, H. haageana, H. incurvula, H. inermis, H. starkiana, and H. tuberculata are published here. Before the holotypes were rediscovered in (B) these photos were previously designated as lectotypes.