Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did.
So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. --- Mark Twain

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Welwitschia Mirabilis

Welwitschia is an unusual ancient plant that grows in the desert of South Namibia and in Southern Angola. And it looks like a strange pile of dead leaves withered from the ends.

The plant consists of a low stem and only of two leaves, the ends of the leaves are broken and dead . It is a “gymnosperm” and is adapted to live in the desert and having only the root and leaves. The plant can live up to 1,500 years, the leaves grow throughout the life of the plant, but they decay from the ends and their length does not exceed 4-5 meters.

It is said that in 1860, when the Austrian botanist Friedrich Welwitsch - while travelling in South Africa- discovered that plant - he fell to his knees and didn´t dare to touch it for a long time.

Welwitschia blooms only once in its lifetime.
Welwitschia is adapted to extreme desert conditions, it does not depend on rain water, but can acquire water from fog clouds coming from the ocean.

To go to see the plants a special permit is required. One can get it from the office of NWR (Namibia Wildlife Resorts) in Swakopmund. The price of the visit is 40 N $ + $ 10 for a car. It is suggested to reserve for the visit about 4 hours.

Male plant

And Female plant





The largest Welwitschia is surrounded by a wire fence.

I guess it is one and a half meter tall and the diameter is about 3-4 meters.

Further away are smaller ones

And even more smaller.

Welwitschia is on the coat of arms of Namibia.

The Welwitschia mirabilis, rooted in the desert sand is a unique desert plant, a fighter for survival and, therefore, a symbol of Namibia's fortitude and tenacity.


More pictures
And additional reading from  Wikipedia


Hort Log said...

Fantastic post ! IF you don't mind, would like to include this in next issue of Berry-Go-Round, a blog carnival. Here's more:

Tarmo said...

Thanks for your comment and nice to know that you like my post. Of course I don`t mind sharing my blog and pictures.

It was also most interesting to to read about "Berry-Go-Round!".
And as to your blog - it´s fascinating.

The Phytophactor said...

Love the welwitschia. Please allow a couple of minor clarifications. First, it's a gymnosperm, so it never flowers, it "cones". Second, they regularly produce cones, annually probably, as local conditions allow.