One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A gymnospermous plant of desert regions in southwestern Africa that has a dwarf, massive trunk, two long strap-shaped leaves, and male and female flowers in the scales of scarlet cones. It is remarkable for its ability to extract moisture from fog.
Genus Welwitschia, family Welwitschiaceae: one species, W. mirabilis
- ‘According to George Lindsay, welwitschias also absorb moisture in the form of dense fog that flows over the Namib Desert.’
- ‘I lived among welwitschia in Northwest Namibia and fond them fascinating.’
- ‘The Centre is also monitoring a population of welwitschias further upriver, at the site of the old Hope copper mine.’
- ‘Here you find the most extreme desert adapted fauna and flora including Hartmann's Mountain zebra, chameleons, 1,000 year old welwitschia and quiver trees.’
- ‘A single pair of leaves is the sum total of the foliage that welwitschias produce in their lifetime.’
Mid 19th century: modern Latin, named after Friedrich Welwitsch (1806–72), Austrian botanist.
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