Monday, September 05, 2011
One of the truly remarkable members of the Kingdom Plantae belongs to the Division Gnetophyta. Its scientific name is Welwitschia mirabilis, and it only grows in a remote region of southwestern Africa in the Namib and Mossamedes Deserts. Welwitschias are extraordinary plants and certainly rank among the top ten list of "most bizarre plants on earth." Old, mature plants have a short, woody trunk or crown (caudex) that protrudes above the ground. Below the ground, the caudex extends into a large taproot. The woody trunk (stem) gives rise to two, wide, strap-shaped leaves that may reach two meters in length. Like grass leaves, their meristematic region is at the base so they continually grow even though their tips get worn off by abrasion. In fact, the leaves lie on the ground and as they flap about in the wind they become split and frayed. Welwitschia plants are dioecious, with pollen-bearing and seed-bearing cones (strobili) produced on separate male and female plants.
hard to believe the pile of stuff all comes from 2 leaves. It is indeed a strange plant