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Welwitschia


Welwitschia is a very unusual gymnosperm that lives in a very restricted region of the coastal desert of Mimibia and Angola. It has only two prominant leaves and a short, woody stem. It grows very slowly and can live for over a thousand years. Welwitschia is dioecious: separate male and female plants bear microsporangiate (male) and ovulate (female) strobili (single: strobilus, the cone of a gymnosperm) at the margins of their stems.

The woody stem and two leaves of a Welwitschia

The strobili of Welwitschia mirabilis in the desert conservatory.

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