Biology

Welwitschia mirabilis flowers from mid-summer to autumn.

Both the male and the female cones produce nectar which is 50% sugar to attract insects.

The female cone has exposed stigmas that exude the nectar and the male cone possesses a modified stigma-like structure to produce it.

Beetles are commonly thought to pollinate this plant, however considering the distance between individual plants it has also been suggested that hornets may be involved in its pollination.

Female cones reach maturity nine months after fertilisation, during the spring months.

Seed germination depends directly on rain - rain must fall for several days and in great quantity for the seeds to germinate.

The arid conditions and other factors such as fungal infection and small animals eating the seeds can lead to seed loss.

Once the plant becomes established, it can live up to 1,500 years.

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