Me and a giant plant
from Messum Crater, Namibia.
root ends in a fine, very long root, seeking for underground
water. It is said not to survive re-potting, unless a lot of soil
I have no problems at all!
have been re-potted five times. Stop growing for a month, and
kick in again like nothing have happened.
The root of a four year old
seedling, re-potted for the third time. Not that pole shaped and extreme long
root, as the roomers
claims. The leaves are 20 centimetres total, it now thrives in a
six centimetre shallow pot.
This seedling have done real
fine, growing in this disposable wineglass. Here,
it is half a year. I had it for five in the glass, till I gave
And is still doing fine after
And three years. No problems
at all! Same soil. Just sitting in my kitchen window without any
heating or artificial light. Down to 12C at wintertime.
Seedlings just when the true
leaves emerges. Plants for tissue culture.
The roots after half a year
are long, plentiful but thin.
Re-potted, and doing fine. One
root was cut down to 2 centimetres - no problem!
seed leaf is still visible.
The only member of the Welwitschiaceae
family was described by Joseph Dalton Hooker in 1862. It's only found
in the Namib Desert; Angola and Namibia.
Well-drained grit, no or
little water (mist is fine) and lots of sun will keep the large plants
alive. However, they need some water to actually grow. The swollen
stem can grow to 50
centimetres in diameter and the two leaves to 3 meters (in theory; to several
hundreds of meters, if taken care of). The "flowers" are
yellow to red
The genera is named after
Austrian Friedrich Welwitsch,1806-1872. The species name means
It was discovered in 1860 by Austrian Friedrich Welwitsch,1806-1872.
It is a dioecious
plant, and can get op to maybe 2000 years old. It will only set cones
when the temperature reaches 38 C.
It will never get more than to leaves (after the seed-leaves), and they grow up to 15 cm a year.
The widest known is 180 cm wide, and the longest 6 meter, but only half
of it lives. It's 1,5 cm thick. The root can reach down 30 meters.
Read my own project on growing Welwitschia from
And in Danish, if you prefer!
In short: Despite it
only rain 10-50 millimetres each year in some of the areas the
plants are found, they do need quite some water to grow, and
especially the seedlings will only survive, given a constant moist
It is my theory that these
plants only grow in the El Nino years, and new seedlings are only
established in extreme El Nino periods of several years. I base this
on the fact that plants in an area seems to be i-e. 200, 500 and
1500 years old, and seedling or even small plants are not present at
all. They simply survive the years of draught on mist, given their
size is sufficient. Further more, it seems like they thrive with a
constantly moist soil, given the temperature is above 20-25C. Then,
they are quite easy to maintain, and they add considerable to their
Plenty of photos from the wild
Typical habitat right outside Messum Crater, Namibia.
cone in flower.
Wild male cone in flower.
The stem are visible on some plants.
habitat photo from Namibia.
And the female cones, early
Female cone flowering.
From Copenhagen Botanical Garden. Growing in a heated bed in the
No one have done it before,
as fare as I can detect, but I succeeded: Tissue culture!