Huernia R. Br. in Mem. Wern. Nat. Hist. Soc. 1: 22 (1810).

Type: Huernia campanulata (Masson) Haw. (=Huernia barbata (Masson) Haw.).

Etymology: Justus Heurnius (1587-1652), Dutch medicine doctor, who discovered Orbea variegata at the Cape in April 1624 on his way to Batavia as a missionary.

Distribution: southern Africa (South Africa, Swaziland, Namibia, Angola, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Moçambique, Malawi), eastern Africa (Tanzania, Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Eritrea, Sudan), western Africa (Nigeria, Cameroon) and Arabian Peninsula (Yemen, Saudi Arabia).

Distribution map of Huernia

Distribution map of Huernia (Bruyns 2005)

Number of species: 52 with 10 infra-specific taxa (Bruyns 2005, Bruyns 2007, Bruyns 2008, Bruyns 2010).

History: Francis Masson described in 1796 six species of Huernia as Stapelia (S. barbata, S. campanulata, S. guttata, S. humilis, S. venusta and S. reticulata). Robert Brown decribed the genus in 1809 for Masson's plants Stapelia campanulata, S. guttata and S. venusta. He didn't transfer these species to new genus. Adrian Haworth transfered Masson's six species and two others (S. tubata Jacq. and S. lentiginosa Sims) to genus and described Huernia crispa in 1812.

Nicholas Edward Brown recognised 24 species and 10 infra-species in 1908. Alain White and Boyd Sloane recognised 45 species with 24 infra-specific taxa in 1937. Leslie Charles (Larry) Leach made a revison of the genus in 1988. He recognized 64 species with 15 (16) infra-specific taxa.

After Leach's revison 18 new taxa and 2 infra-specific taxa have been described: H. rosea (Newton & Lavranos 1993), H. rubra and H. lenewtonii (Plowes 1995a), H. keniensis var. globosa (Newton 1998), H. haddaica nom. inval. (Al-Hemaid 2001) synonymous with H. khalidbinsultanii (Goydner & Al-Hemaid 2009), H. macrocarpa subsp. harerghensis (Gilbert 2003), H. khalidbinsultanii (Plowes & McCoy 2003), H. mccoyi (Plowes 2003), H. lopanthera (Bruyns 2007), H. calosticta (Bruyns 2008) and H. humpatana (Bruyns 2010). Plowes recently described six new taxa from Saudi Arabia (Plowes 2012) H. anagaynensis, H. asirensis, H. collenetteae, H. foetida, H. radhwana, H. rubrosticta, two from Yemen: H. baradii, H. yemenesis and two from NE Africa: H. sudanensis and H. delicata (Plowes 2014). The last published Huernia was H. pulchra from northern Somalia (Orlando & El Azzouni 2014).

© Iztok Mulej | 01.02.2016