Haworthia arachnoidea, in its hairier forms, deserves the Afrikaans common name of spinnekopnes (spider’s nest), suggesting a hirsute, cobwebby affair. Another common name, cobweb aloe, highlights the same feature, as well as the days when the plant was still classified among the Aloe species. Both genera, Aloe and Haworthia, form part of the Asphodelaceae family that was earlier separated from the lilies. Look closely, the flower structures of all these monocots (and more) have resemblances.
The whitish hairs are spaced up the leaf margins and keels, similar to what is seen in some other species that have marginal teeth or spines. The hairs vary in density and length on H. arachnoidea. On this specimen there are additional features contributing to the cobwebby appearance in the form of whitish leaf tip awns, wiry protuberances projecting well beyond leaf tips and curving over the plant. This looks similar to what is found on H. bolusii, which name may still prove to be the correct one for this plant.
H. arachnoidea is a variable, stemless, leaf succulent with such compact rosettes that only parts of the leaves are exposed to the world. Furthermore, in nature these soft rosettes are sometimes partly embedded in the earth, hiding lower leaf ends from the harsh climatic conditions of the plant’s habitat. These plants usually grow better in the shade of shrubs where they are available. This is not everywhere the case in the plant's wide distribution from Namaqualand, the Karoo and Little Karoo to inland parts of the Eastern Cape (Vlok and Schutte-Vlok, 2010; Scott, 1985).