This plant causes utter amazement, not only when seen in the Namib but also on the internet: 5,714 Facebook users looked at the Welwitschia picture which Gondwana posted on its fan page last week. 760 of them also read the feature in the Stamps & Stories column on Gondwana’s website.

Welwitschia mirabilis (female), issued in 2000, artist: Helge DenkerSome of the commentaries voiced concern for the plant and advised not to get too close, like the car in the picture, lest the intricate root system close to the surface would be destroyed and subsequently render the plant unable to collect droplets of condensed fog. Indeed, such admonition needs to be taken seriously: a plant which survives in the arid Namib up to an age of close to 2000 years deserves our deepest respect. The Welwitschia is rightfully considered a national symbol.

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