Namib Section of the Conservatory
The Namibian section showing Cyphostemma uter, Commiphora saxicola in the foreground with Aloe littoralis & Cyphostemma currorii in the background.

The Namib section is the smallest. It has plants representing various parts of Namibia, but mainly the Namib Desert and Kaokoland regions. Rainfall in the Namib is mainly during summer with dry, sunny winters. The vegetation consists of desert along the coast and the arid Savannah to the north.

Granite rocks have been used in this section. Other smaller rocks include dolomite from Khowarib Poort and dolorite from the Brandberg region.

The Welwitschia mirabilis plants here have been established from seed planted directly into this bed. They are one of the worlds most amazing and bizarre plants. It is a cone bearing plant. The whole plant consist of two opposite strap-shaped leaves, a short woody stem and the taproot. The leaves grow continuously and become withered at their ends. The growth point withers in a seedling stage and the the only growth that takes place is in the leaf primordium, eventually resulting in the obconic head. The latter can grow, in exceptional cases, up to 1 meter in height in its habitat and become about 2 000 years old. It is a plant without a main stem. The plant is a paradox, as small leaves are usually associated with desert plants. Why these large leaves? If one looks at the plant's habitat, it coincides with the fog belt. The regular fog of the cold Atlantic Ocean condenses on its leaves and provides extra moisture. The plant produces cones during the summer months.

Another characteristic species planted in this section is the thickset Cyphostemma dwarf tree. The display includes the large Cyphostemma currorii, C. bainesii, and C. uter. Their large tri-foliate leaves are produced in summer and become deciduous in winter. The pylgif (Adenium boehmianum) is a small shrub bearing pink flowers, formerly used by the Busman to poison their arrows and hence its Afrikaans vernacular name. The cork bark (Commiphora) trees are also prominent in the Namib. They belong to the myrrh family (Burseraceae) and have a highly aromatic leaf sap. Introduced here are the dwarf rock corkbark (C. saxicola), the oak-leafed corkbark (C. wildii) and the C. kraeuseliana. These grow like dwarf baobab trees and do not grow taller than a meter. The python kambro (Fockea multiflora) has a huge gray succulent stem with climbing branches clinging like a python to the trees. The Namib stinging nettle (Obetia carruthersiana) has large spiny leaves bearing irritant sap. The Namib coral tree (Erythrina decora) is a small tree with a corky bark and coral red flowers.

Smaller plants introduced here include Kalanchoe laciniata with attractive divided leaves. It has a fleshy root and becomes deciduous during the winter months. During late summer the yellowish-orange flowers appear. Aloe dinteri is a small aloe with leaves in three ranks. It has fleshy roots and in nature occur among dolomite rock formation. A. dewinteri grows on sheer cliffs. It has orange and yellow flowers and tapering gray-white leaves. It flowers during December. Aloe littoralis is the most common aloe in Namibia and is solitary with a tall stem to 4 meters high. The related A. esculenta is smaller with mottled leaves dividing to form large groups. Petalidium coccineum, a shrub bearing striking red flowers, has also been introduced in the display. The shrubs are also grown on the main pillars and flower from winter to summer. Other noteworthy species include: the shrub Sesamothamnus benguellensis, Euphorbia venenata and E. eduardoi. Urginea altissima a bulbous plant bearing a long solitary erect inflorescence to 2 meters tall.

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