How does the Welwitschia adapted to its environment?
Welwitschias have several special adaptations that allow them to live in the desert. First, they have unique structures on their leaves that allow them to harvest moisture from the dew that forms at night. They also have the ability to to perform CAM photosynthesis; they are the only gymnosperm that have this ability.
How does the Welwitschia Mirabilis survive high temperature?
If the Namib was a hot inland desert, Welwitschia would soon succumb to high temperatures. The large leaves also use the available fog, which condenses on their surface and runs off onto the ground. engineering has enabled a cone-bearing tree to adapt to life in the harsh Namib Desert.
How does Welwitschia reproduce?
The Welwitschia mirabilis is a dioecious perennial plant with short stem and taproot. The woody stem widens with age to become a concave disc up to a meter across, from which grow small ramified branch systems that serve only to bare pollen and seed cones. The branched reproductive shoots arise near the leaf bases.
How do you grow Welwitschia mirabilis?
Place the seed on top of the soil and just cover it with a layer of sand. Water well and keep in a warm sunny situation. It is important to add a mild fungicide, like Captan, to the water during the first year as it will prevent fungal attack. Keep the soil moist until the seeds have germinated.
How is Welwitschia adapted to extreme temperatures and drought?
Welwitschia can also adjust the color of its leaves. When it’s very hot, the leaves produce more red pigments, which protect the plant from the sun’s radiation. When temperatures drop and water is more readily available, the leaves form more chlorophyll, the green pigment, to conduct photosynthesis.
What makes Welwitschia unique?
However, welwitschia is unique for having several elements typically only found in angiosperms, or flowering plants. Specifically, it has water-conducting tissues called vessel elements typically only found in angiosperms, and its male cones also have many flower-like elements (Bornman 1977).
How do Welwitschia plants obtain water?
The long leaves of desert Welwitschia capture water by collecting dew and channeling it into the ground where a large tap root can absorb it.
What is Welwitschia used for?
Welwitschia also has a long taproot, allowing it to reach water deep underground. Antelope and rhinoceros chew Welwitschia leaves for hydration during times of drought. The cone of the female plant was used as food for people in earlier times; it was eaten raw or baked in hot ashes.
How does Welwitschia mirabilis primarily get water?
Most plants absorb water from the soil through their roots. The Welwitschia plant works the other way around. It is able to absorb water from fog through millions of stomata on the surface of it’s large leaves. From there the water moves to the rest of the plant.
How is welwitschia adapted to extreme temperatures and drought?
What is a Welwitschia?
Weird, peculiar, wonderful, strange, bizarre, fascinating, and of course, unique, are the kind of words that are used to describe the welwitschia. It is one of the few things on Earth that can truly claim to be one of a kind. There really is nothing like it. An adult welwitschia consists of two leaves, a stem base and roots.That is all!
Can you grow Welwitschias in containers?
Welwitschias in containers can be grown in glasshouses, window sills, verandahs or outdoors in areas with rainfall of below 500 mm per annum. In higher rainfall areas, it may be quite happy on a slope. Also, we do not know its frost tolerance.
How many leaves does Welwitschia mirabilis have?
An adult Welwitschia mirabilis plant consists of two leaves, a stem base and roots. That is all! But these two leaves are unique in the plant kingdom. They are the original seedling leaves and they just continue to grow, and are never shed. The plant has retained its juvenile state.
Is Welwitschia mirabilis in the Namib Desert?
The microenvironment associated with Welwitschia mirabilis in the Namib desert. Pp. 149-153 in M. K. Seely, ed.: Namib Ecology, 25 years of Namib Research. Pretoria: Transvaal Museum. Masters, Maxwell T. 1898. The source of Welwitschia.