The weeks


Maybe it’s not the most exiting picture you ever seen. But then again. Do not judge things or living creatures or in this instance, plants on their appearance. This flower, Welwitschia mirabilis, in short called Welwitschia, is a living wonder and a miracle in itself. It grows only in the western parts of the Namib desert and has a strange life story.

This plant on the picture is probably between 1000 and 2000 years old! Normally they don’t get taller than half a meter. You can’t see it but, it has only two leaves which grow to the plant dies, and a very short wood like stem. It is not endangered but, it is a protected species. It survives in very harsh conditions and the seeds only germinate when the amount of rain is enough. That means a seed from this plant can lie around for 20 years before it starts to grow. The average rainfall in a year around this place is 8 mm. And the seed needs much more than that. Therefor you can actually see how rainfall has been over the years by studying this strange life form.

There’s plenty more to tell about this flower but, this is not a botanical lesson. Better to tell a good story connected to Welwitschia.

We have a friend, a great explorer (his recent trip in August this year was to the North Pole) who camped in the Namib desert some years back. In the evening he needed to have a campfire, so he (name withheld) uprooted several of these protected plants to light up the dark desert night - and to keep warm. That the plants he used had been around when Jesus Christ walked the Earth he did not know. He was deceived by it’s ugly, strange look and thought it was some kind of weed. He actually burned thousands of years plant growth in a few minutes.

He later learned about this wonder and still regrets his actions then to this day.

The morale must be never to judge people (or plants) on their looks.

Have a fashionable week.