Plants photographed elsewhere in Namibia (not on Kyffhäuser)
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Welwitschia mirabilis Hook. f.

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Welwitschia mirabilis

Image 1
20 Sep 2013

Welwitschia mirabilis

Image 2
20 Sep 2013

Welwitschia mirabilis

Image 3
20 Sep 2013

Welwitschia mirabilis

Image 4
Developing cones
20 Sep 2013

Welwitschia mirabilis

Image 5
Female cones
20 Sep 2013

Family: Welwitschiaceae
Full name: Welwitschia mirabilis Hook. f.
ID status: Fairly certain
Afrikaans common name(s): Welwitschia, Tweeblaarkanniedood, Woestynkanniedood
English common name(s): Welwitschia, Desert potato, Tumboa
Synonym(s): Welwitschia bainesii (Hook. f.) Carrière
Status: Native
Description: Plant body (hypocotyl) woody, covered by thick corrugated cork, sometimes fused with other individuals, when injured exuding a copious gummy secretion congealing in alcohol, broadly obconic or turbinate, concave on the top, more or less circular or elliptic in horizontal section, rising 0.25–1 ft. above the ground, 1–3 ft. in diam. at the top; epicotyl reduced to 2 leaf-bearing grooves and floriferous cushions forming a raised rim around the top of the hypocotyl interrupted at the longer diameter, and a depressed and early arrested stem apex, at length buried beneath two coalescent corky expansions overlying the concave summit of the hypocotyl and developed from the buds in the axils of the cotyledons; taproot greatly elongated, unbranched in the upper part, at length very slender, branched and brittle; leaves 2, rarely 3, each inserted in an epicotylar leaf-groove extending round half the raised rim of the hypocotyl, oblong, entire, usually in old plants torn into few or many strap-like segments from apex to base, thick, leathery, with the main nerves parallel and distinct, growing at the base as long as the plant lives, dying at the apex, up to 4 yards long; spikes arranged in compound dichasial cymes (rarely solitary) arising annually from pits in the floriferous cushions situated immediately above, not seldom immediately beneath, each leaf; male spike bearing 40–70 axillary flowers in 4 rows; bracts connate, lowest pair or 2 pairs barren; flowers concealed by the bracts until the exsertion of the anthers; female spike bearing 40–60 flowers in 4 rows; lowest 6–10 pairs of bracts increasing in size from below upwards, barren, the lowest 2 or 3 pairs connate. Except the micropylar tube, the naked seed completely concealed by the bract at maturity. (from JSTOR Global Plants website / Flora Capensis)
Link(s) African Plant Database
JSTOR Plant Science
Kew Herbarium Catalogue
BGBM Berlin-Dahlem - Virtual Herbarium
Züricher Herbarien
iNaturalist (Namibia / Alex Dreyer)
iNaturalist (Namibia)
iNaturalist (southern Africa)
Flora of Zimbabwe
Fleurs de notre Terre - Galerie Namibie
Tree Atlas of Namibia
Content last updated: 18 Apr 2024

Note: The identification of some of the plants on this website is not 100% certain. Any comments will be highly appreciated. I would also be willing to supply higher resolution images upon request. Please contact me at the e-mail address given below.

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Last updated on 18 Apr 2024

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