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, Design
Flowers, 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

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

Category: Nature,Weird


Visual Caffeine #7
Visual Caffeine, Issue 7

A thrilling blend of art, myths and technology

Art Deco
Imperial Dreams: Art Deco Update

Wings, Gears, & Glamorous Ladies

1970s SciFi
DRB Pics-of-the-Day

Grand Space Adventure 1970s Art

"Dark Roasted Blend" - All Kinds of Weird and Wonderful Things, Discovered Daily!"

DRB is a top-ranked and respected source for the best in art, travel and fascinating technology, with a highly visual presentation. Our in-depth articles in many categories make DRB a highly visual online magazine, bringing you quality entertainment every time you open your "feed" reader or visit our site - About DRB

Connect with us and become part of DRB on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google Plus; make sure to subscribe to our updates.



Blogger Renegade said...

That is one crazy plant!

Happy Mardi Gras!

Check out Renegade's BS

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.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Malboro FTW!

Anonymous mybeat said...

its those things from fallout.!

Anonymous xsuit said...

It looks like a twat...

Anonymous Sornos said...

I'm not going to make the obvious observation.

Anonymous flobbins said...

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

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.

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...


Post a Comment

<< Home

Don't miss: The Ultimate Guide to NEW SF&F Writers!
Fiction Reviews: Classic Cyberpunk: Extreme Fiction
Short Fiction Reviews: Lovecraft's "At the Mountains of Madness" (with pics)
New Fiction Reviews: The Surreal Office


Abandoned, Dieselpunk
DRB Pic-of-the-Day

Abandoned: Streamlined Three-wheeler

Visual Caffeine #6
Visual Caffeine, Issue 6

A thrilling blend of art, myths and technology

Visual Caffeine #5
Visual Caffeine, Issue 5

A thrilling blend of art, myths and technology

DRB Feel-Good
DRB Feel-Good Issue #38

Loads of cool and rare imagery

Hellish Weather on Other Planets

Wild, Untamed, and Uncut

Medieval Suits of Armor

Metal Body Suits vs. Weapons of Medieval Destruction

World's Strangest Theme Parks

Amusement to the (twisted) extremes!

Enchanting Victorian Fairy Tale Art

"Then world behind and home ahead..."

Adorable Pedal Cars

Collectable Pedal Vehicles Showcase

Japanese Arcades: Gundam Pods & Other Guilty Pleasures

These machines have gone up to the next level

Modernist Tallinn Architecture

Delicious blend of old and new!

Early Supercomputers: A Visual Overview

"Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons"

Futuristic Concept Cars of the 1970-80s

French, Italian & Japanese rare beauties

Epic 1970s French Space Comic Art

DRB Time-Slice: Valérian and Laureline

The Trees Are Escaping! The Abandoned Prison in French Guiana

"Great Escape" from the Devil's Island

(with previews, fast loading):


Link Lattes

Feel-Good & Biscotti Issues

Feel-Good! | airplanes | animals | architecture | art | auto | boats | books | cool ads | funny pics | famous | futurism | food
gadgets | health | history | humour | japan | internet | link latte | military | music | nature | photo | russia | steampunk
sci-fi & fantasy | signs | space | sports | technology | trains | travel | vintage | weird | abandoned