swakopmund flora

Where we went today, just 30 minutes from Swakopmund

Here’s the really excellent drive in

We broke out onto a highish plain, with badlands a mile away

And went plant hunting. Here’s the Lithops covered in the posts lower down

And a tiny little flowering plant the guide called a “desert pink” but 10 minutes of Googling plants here yielded no plant that looked like this

Here are 3 plants. Between the Aloe to the right and the thing to the left is Euphorbia damarana, one of the deadliest plants in Africa

That drop of white on an open cut would be lethal. Rhinos and Oryx for some reason eat it and are immune

Then off to our next destination

Into beautiful low outcroppings, maze-like with passages

This is the famous one

Where, coming from the opposite direction, this scene from Fury Road was shot.

After a mile or so we came to this, the most famous plant in Namibia, Welwitschia. It has a bank, a rugby team, insurance company, schools named after it. I’ve wanted to see it since I first saw it in a RHS book maybe 40 years ago. Below are several

And a mature (600-700 years old) specimen. The oldest, in Angola, is 2500 years old. The oldest close one is 1500.

They’re monotypic and only have two leaves which split as they grow

The leaves (uniquely?) have stomata on both surfaces

The woody centre with male flowers

Cones

There’s a historic botanic connection to the great Royal Society collector Hooker, and lots of interesting and typically Victorian complexities to its naming and classification.

Here it is on the Namibian coat of arms, along the bottom

We took a dried river bed out

Walking on it made a great sound

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