Welwitschia, the last of it’s kind

sussman_welwitchia_circle_0707_6724_custom-7074ed50f8fdbf2e578811312d47e74161bb6006-s40-c85Found in Namibian desert of Africa, Welwitschia is considered a “living fossil”. It has been around for over 200 million years and while all of the other plants from that time have slowly vanished, it has managed to survive in the empty desert of The Namib. The one pictured is estimated to be over 2000 years old. 

The Namib is almost completely uninhabited by humans, except for several small settlements and indigenous pastoral groups. The average annual rainfall is less than 10 mm (0.39 in) of rain. The plant lives by sending a tap root deep underground, and collecting dew formed during the early mornings. 

As they are located in very inhospitable regions of Nambia and Angola, they are not a threatened genus at this time. Plants in Angola are even better protected than those in Namibia, because of the relatively high concentration of landmines in Angola, which keep collectors away. 

The plant is featured in the Coat of arms of Namibia right under the shield. Coat_of_arms_of_Namibia.svg

 

 

 


About Trey Pitsenberger

Trey is a nurseryman, author, and speaker.

02. June 2014 by Trey Pitsenberger
Categories: | Tags: | 4 comments

Comments (4)

  1. What led you to write about this plant?

    • Virginia,
      I find botanical wonders fascinating. The idea that this plant grows in such arid climate, as well as it’s the last of it’s genus. Such an odd looking survivor.

  2. I am really enjoying your blog. Your content is fresh and unique, with informative posts that are also easy to understand. I hope you are able to keep posting frequently.