Monday, April 25, 2011



W was going to be for War Aftermath! But it got supplanted.

We were going to consider the ongoing consequences of war. Of  how young men- mere boys, were taught to kill and maim, and found strange delights in bordellos, and then plonked back into civilian life and expected to carry on as before. But the poetry I wrote exploring that theme has been said to be too important to fritter away, so it could be destined for greater exposure.
We'll have to wait.

Welwitschia Mirabilis.Picture by Thomas Schoch.

So W is for Welwitschia, as far away from war as any subject could be. Although a few Russian made tanks may have rolled over some in the Border War fought in Angola as this weird plant can be found there and in only one other country- Namibia.

This plant is amazing. So weird, unique, and a perfect example of how to live in an arid country. The huge strappy leaves have the ability to absorb moisture deposited on the leaves by fogs or morning condensation.
Welwitschia Mirabilis is one of the oldest living plants known, thought to live up to 2,000 years.  I was thrilled to find these growing at the Petrified Forest in Kunene region of Namibia, not far from Twyfelfontein, the subject of an earlier post. This plant grows only two leaves, which keep on growing but the ends will fray and appear split and torn which gives the appearance of many strap like leaves appearing from the central base. I photographed some individual plants of less than a metre across and was told they could be 100 years old. Another of 20 centimetres width was over 40 years old. Welwitschiais are dioecous, being either male or female, distinguished by the flowers. 

Male Welwitschia at Petrified Forest.



Mary Hudak-Collins said...

Wow! Pretty cool Jim. It's interesting to me how certain plants live only in certain places. A great source of information today! Thanks for sharing:)

Stuart Nager said...

Thanks..I've never seen anything like that outside of a SciFi movie. Learning of new things is always good.

Misha Gerrick said...

I think I've seen it in my travels to Namibia. It's wonderful to know how well plants and animals can adapt to their surroundings.


Healing Morning said...

This is why I so enjoy visiting your blog, Jim. I see things that I would never otherwise be afforded the opportunity to experience. I love the chance to learn and be exposed to obscure, fascinating topics. You know I'll be back! :)

~ Dawn