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Welwitschia mirabilis

One of the worlds strangest plants, this gymnosperm is related to Gnetum, Ephedra and less closely to conifers and cycads. It is native to one of the worlds driest deserts, the Namib, and is distributed from southwestern Angola along the Atlantic coast to central Namibia. It forms a large, thick trunk that produces only two very wide, strap-like leaves that grow from their base, twist and shred into narrower straps until slowly withering away at the tips. Welwitschia grows very slowly and some large plants in the wild may be as old as 2000 years. Rather than through rain, plants obtain most of their moisture requirements through morning fogs. In cultivation it needs full sun and high heat. Germination is relatively easy and requires heat, light and humidity. Seedlings should be preventatively treated with a fungicide.

 
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germination comments by our visitors
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Also see plant cultivation comments below.

Seeds from this species ...

... are easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
If the seeds are fresh they will germinate in a week. Soak them in water and fungicide overnight, then seed in a very drained soil. The seeds and the young seedlings are very sensitive to dessiccation, so it's important to gives little amounts of water very often. The temperature must be not less than 25°C. Usually the cotiledons are pink or violet.
Submitted on 28/10/2013 by one of our visitors

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plant cultivation comments by our visitors
Also see germination commnets above.

Plants from this species ...

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If you wish to read more on palm cultivation, we highly recommend Ornamental Palm Horticulture by Timothy K. Broschat and Alan W. Meerow, available in our bookshop.

Ratings and comments reflect individual experiences and the views of our visitors. They do not necessarily describe the most appropriate methods, nor are they necessarily valid for all seeds or plants of this species. Germination and plant cultivation success depends on many different factors; nevertheless, these experiences will hopefully aid you in your effort to get the best germination results from our seeds and the best growth results from your plants.

 
       
 
We recommend:
The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms

The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms
by Robert Lee Riffle, Paul Craft, Scott Zona

2nd edition
Completely revised and updated

Hardcover - 528 pages
11 x 8.5 inches


Our rating:
Suitable for: all

The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms is the definitive account of all palms that can be grown for ornamental and economic use. Palms are often underutilized as a result of their unfamiliarity—even to tropical gardeners. To help introduce these valuable plants to a new audience, the authors have exhaustively documented every genus in the palm family.
825 species are described in detail, including cold hardiness, water needs, height, and any special requirements. Generously illustrated with more than 900 photos, including photos of several palm species that have never before appeared in a general encyclopedia, The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms is as valuable as an identification guide as it is a practical handbook. Interesting snippets of history, ethnobotany, and biology inform the text and make this a lively catalog of these remarkable plants.


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