monotypic genus in the gymnosperm family Welwitschiaceae

Welwitschia or Welwitschia mirabilis is known as one of the oldest living plants. It can be called a "living fossil". The plant is mainly found in the deserts of Namibia. Some of these plants may be more than 5000 years old. This would make them the oldest living things on Earth.

Welwitschia at Ugab River basin.jpg
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Division: Gnetophyta
Class: Gnetopsida
Order: Welwitschiales
Family: Welwitschiaceae
Genus: Welwitschia
W. mirabilis
Binomial name
Welwitschia mirabilis
Welwitschia Mirabilis Area of Circulation.png
Welwitschia's range.
  • Tumboa Welw. nom. rej.
  • Tumboa bainesii Hook. f. nom. inval.
  • Welwitschia bainesii (Hook. f.) Carrière
  • Tumboa strobilifera Welw. ex Hook. f. nom. inval.
Welwitschia mirabilis

It is named after the discoverer, Dr. Friedrich Welwitsch. The plant is locally called "long haired thing". Its structure consists of a short, woody, top-shaped stem, and never more than two leaves, which are enormously long, (two or three metres) and break up at the ends.