Thursday, 24 September 2020


The unique monotypic gymnosperm Welwitschia mirabilis, native to the deserts of Namibia and Angola was first taxonomically described according to European conventions by its namesake botanist Doktor Friedrich Welwitsch (*1806 – †1874, also credited with the discovery of the Rhipsalis baccifera, the only cactus that naturally occurs outside of the Americas).
Also going by the Afrikaans designation above meaning two-leaves-cannot-die, most of the plant is underground in the form of a taproot like trunk and sprouting a pair of leaves that branch off into smaller clusters and can thrive for millennia. Believed to be the missing link between coniferous plants and the true flowering variety (angiosperm), Weltwitschia are postulated to be the first to rely on insects for pollination and have become a national symbol, featured on the compartment of the coat of arms of Namibia along with the country’s motto.