Welwitschia mirabilis (tree tumbo)

Welwitschia mirabilis is the only member of the Welwitschiaceae family.

This succulent plant can live up to 1,500 years and is only found in a strip of land in the Namibia Desert comprising part of Namibia and Angola. It can survive on moisture from fog and dew.

It consists of 2 leaves that grow continuously, a stem base and roots. It is thought to be a relic from the Jurassic Period and it has changed very little since then.

Species detail

  • Welwitschia mirabilis
    Taxonomy

    Welwitschia mirabilis has only 2 leaves, but they are huge, growing up to 9m long. Find out more about the appearance of this unusual plant.

  • Welwitschia mirabilis
    Distribution

    Welwitschia mirabilis lives in arid conditions, and can withstand extreme temperature fluctuations. Discover more about this plant’s habitat, and how it relies on mist to survive.

  • Welwitschia mirabilis
    Biology

    This remarkable plant can live for up to 1,500 years. Discover how it reproduces.

  • Friedrich Martin Josef Welwitsch
    The collector - Friedrich Martin Josef Welwitsch

    This unique plant is fascinating in itself, but so is the reaction of the collector when he discovered it. Read on to find out more.

  • Welwitschia mirabilis
    Conservation

    Welwitschia mirabilis is endemic to Namibia and southern Angola and is well protected in its native range.

  • Welwitschia mirabilis
    References

    Get reference material for Welwitschia mirabilis.

Images

Welwitschia mirabilis

Welwitschia’s 2-leaf structure.

© www.biolib.de, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported
Welwitschia mirabilis

Welwitschia mirabilis - this species is of great economic importance as a tourist attraction

Welwitschia mirabilis

Welwitschia mirabilis.

© Hans Hillewaert, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported
Welwitschia mirabilis

Welwitschia mirabilis.

© Sara&Joachim on Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic
Welwitschia mirabilis

Welwitschia mirabilis.

© Sara&Joachim on Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic
Author

Cristina Espada Mateos
GPI Technician
Botany Collections
Department of Botany

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