Originally posted 2019-02-18 19:55:36.
Specie: Welwitschia mirabilis
The weird, wonderful and certainly unique Welwitschia mirabilis plant was first discovered by Australian botanist Friendrich Welwitscha in 1859 in the Namibian desert. The plant is commonly called Welwitschia in English, but also called tree tumbo.
Welwitschia mirabilis is the only member of the Welwitschiaceae family classification. The plant is found only in an area of the Namibia desert between Namibia and Angola.
The Welwitschia consist of two leaves, a stem which runs down to a long tap root in the soil. The leaves are present from the seedling stage of the plant. Welwitschia develops two leaves which grow continually throughout the whole long life of the plant.
Leaves are broad, leathery and shaped like belt. The two leaves continue to grow at the base, while the ends dry out.
The stem gets widen with time and takes a concave disc shape. From the stem grows small divided branches which bears seed cones and pollens.
The plant has the male and female sexes. The male cones are small, yellowish-pink coloured and oblong-cone like shape, while the females are blue-green, larger and more tapering.
The reproductive cycle of the plant lasts 9-10 months. The cone bearing plants are sometimes pollinated by wind. Flowering takes place from summer to autumn. Both male and female plants produce large quantities of nectar which attracts wasps, tree bugs and flies and ensures pollination. Degradation of female cones results in release of seed. Seed has wings which facilitate dispersal by wind.
Welwitschia has long taproot that is able to reach water hidden deeply underground. Due to lack of rain and available water, plant absorbs majority of water from the fog and dew.
DO YOU KNOW ?
*The estimated lifespan of this amazing plant is 400-1500 years.
*For being able to withstand the harsh conditions of the Namibian desert, Welwitschia has the title of the world’s most resistant plant.It can survive up to five years with no rain.
* Welwitschia is also known as “onion of desert” because indigenous people eat core of the plant. It can be use either raw or as a part of cooked meal.
*Due to Welwitschia’s weird structure, it is unfairly labelled as one of the world’s ugliest plants.
*Welwitscha mirabilis appears on the foreground of the Namibia’s national coat of arms
*Antelopes and rhinos eat leaves and soft parts of the stem to obtain water. Damaged plant usually manages to recuperate.