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"QUANTUM SHOT" #116


Other planets may have aliens, but we have this...

It's not pretty to look at, but Namibia's plant Welwitschia Mirabilis can truly claim to be one of a kind. There really is nothing like it.

Flowers, Plants, Design

Flowers, Plants, Design
(images credit: Friedrich A. Llohmuller)

Flowers, Plants, Design

Flowers, Plants, Design
(images via)

Welwitschia plant consists of only two leaves and a sturdy stem with roots. That's all! Two leaves continue to grow until they resemble the shaggy mane of some sci-fi alien. The stem thickens, rather than gains in height , and can grow to be almost 2 meters high and 8 meters wide. Their estimated lifespan is 400 to 1500 years.

Flowers, Plants, Design
(image credit: Botanik-Fotos.de, photo by Karlheinz Knoch)

Flowers, Plants, Design
(image credit: Peter v. Sengbusch)

Flowers, Plants, Design
(image credit: Botanik-Fotos.de)

The sexes are separate, i.e. male plants and female plants.
Male & Female Cones:
Flowers, Plants, DesignFlowers, Plants, Design

Female plant at beginning of reproductive season. Craterlike apical part of trunk about 17 cm wide. (Drawn by M.Steyn):
Flowers, Plants, Design

Let's see the close-up of its growing stages. It all starts with two leaves:
(Photos by Karlheinz Knoch)

Flowers, Plants, Design

Flowers, Plants, Design

Flowers, Plants, Design

seeds:
Flowers, Plants, Design

Flowers, Plants, Design
(images credit: Botanik-Fotos.de, photo by Karlheinz Knoch)

Welwitschia is thought to be a relic from the Jurassic period when such plants (called "gymnosperms") dominated the world's flora. Its ancestor got trapped in an arid environment, and all its close relatives long since disappeared.

The plant is said to be very tasty either raw or baked in hot ashes, and this is how it got its other name, onyanga, which means onion of the desert.
Also some like to wear its unique shape as a jewelry:

Flowers, Plants, Design

Namibia's Desert is home to other strange growths

French photographer Christophe Courteau captures the esoteric beauty of the desert and its sparse inhabitants:

Flowers, Plants, Design

Flowers, Plants, Design

Flowers, Plants, Design

Flowers, Plants, Design

Desert Edelweis:
Flowers, Plants, Design

Sources and further reading: Platz Africa, Peter v. Sengbusch

Permanent Link...
Category: Nature,Weird




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YOUR COMMENTS::

9 Comments:

Blogger Renegade said...

That is one crazy plant!

Happy Mardi Gras!

Check out Renegade's BS

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Blogger Denudado said...

This strange plant does not exist only in Namibia. It can be found in Angola too.

As a matter of fact, it was in Angola that this plant was studied for the first time, by the Austrian botanist Friedrich Welwitsch, who lived in the 19th century and worked for the Portuguese government. His work was so important that the plant was named after him.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Malboro FTW!
http://www.ffcompendium.com/h/espmon/malboro.shtml

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Anonymous mybeat said...

its those things from fallout.!

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Anonymous xsuit said...

It looks like a twat...

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Anonymous Sornos said...

I'm not going to make the obvious observation.

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Anonymous flobbins said...

Classic opening line... "Other planets may have aliens, but we have this..." It could be the tag line to a movie...

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Anonymous Aeon said...

What exactly is so weird about welwitschia? Its amusing how the uneducated are blown away by things that are new to them and the way they expect the rest of us to share their amazement.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I assume Aeon is referring to themselves as being uneducated due to the fact that if they had actually read the article they would already know the answer to there question...I guess there really is such thing as a stupid question...

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