Welwitschia

© Thomas Schoch

Igama

Welwitschia [Welwitschia mirabilis]

Isingeniso

“Akungatshazwa ukuthi lesi yisonasitshalo esihle kunazo zonke ezake salethwa kulelilizwe, futhi yisona sitshalo esibi.” Le yinto eyashiwo uRegius Keeper We-Royal Botanic Gardens, ngo-1863 uma ephiwa isitshalo se- Welwitschia mirabilis.

Ama-Welwitschia mirabilis yizitshalo ezingajwayelekile futhi ezinamaqabunga angathi ngamabhande, akhula asabalale emhlabathini. Lesi sitshalo sikhiqiza amaqabunga amabili. La mahlamvu aye avithizwe umoya bese ahlukana kaningi. I-carbon dating ibonakalisa ukuthi ezinye zalezi zihlahla ubudala bazo bunga phezulu kwe-1500 yeminyaka.

Incazelo

I-Welwitschia mirabilis yisitshalo esikhula njalo, sinesiqu ne-taproot emfushane. Ngaphezu kwalokho lesi sitshalo sichazwa njesiqondakali noma kuthiwe asinaso isitshalo esifana naso emhlabeni. Isiqu sayo ukhuni olufushane elungenamagatsha, futhi sizungezwe amahlamvu amabili akhula kwi-basal meristem.

Ngokuhamba kwesikhathi siya sibe yizintambo. Omabili amaqabunga aye avele izimbobo.
Isiqu siya siba banzi ngokuhamba kwesikhathi, bese siba ngathi yindishi. Ngaphakathi kwaso kukhula amagatsha amancane, akhiqiza impova nezigaxa zembewu. Amahlumela akhula eduze kwesisekelo samaqabunga.

Izigaxa zempova ezibomvu, zifana ne-Ephedra, futhi ziqhamuka zihamba ngambili noma kathathu kwigatsha ngalinye. Ngokwenjwayelo kukhula imbewu eyodwa esigaxeni bese isakazwa umoya.

Izici zeqabunga

Amaqabunga alesi sitshalo iwona aphila isikhathi eside kumbuso wezitshalo. Iqabunga elibanzi kakhulu uma lingaphukanga yi-179mm. Iqabunga ubude balo ngamamitha asithupha. Ubuso obukuleli qabunga bumboza lesitshalo ukuze sikwazi ukumelana namazinga okushisa aphezulu.

Igcina umhlaba ongaphansi kwesitshalo upholile futhi umanzi. Amaqabunga ngonyaka akhula aze abe yi-13.8cm. Ngakho-ke lesi sitshalo singakwazi ukukhiqiza amamitha ayikhulu elinamashumi amahlanu wezicubu eminyankeni eyi-1000. Amaqabunga isilinganiso sawo ayi-1.4cm ubukhulu. Amaqabunga alala ebusweni besihlabathi ukuze awuvikeleke ekugugulekeni ngomoya, noma kukhona umoya onamandla amaqabunga akanyakazi nhlobo.

Ukumuncwa kwamanzi yizimbobo ezisebusweni bamaqabunga kuyinto emangazayo. Lesici yiso esenza ukuthi le nhlobo yamaqabunga iphile isikhathi eside. Izimbobo zihlala zivulekile kuze kuphele inkungu, uma kushisa izimbobo zalesi sitshalo ziyavaleka. Lokhu kuqinisekisa ukuthi amanzi akanyamalali uma kushisa kakhulu.

Indawo

I-Welwitschia igcwele eNamibia Desert, ekuyilona hlane elidala kunawo wonke futhi ekuyilona elome kakhulu, ize iyofika nakwezinye izindawo zaseNamibia nase-Angola. Kulezi zindawo kuphela iminyaka lingani. Ngeminye iminyaka isilinganiselo semvula siba yi-100mm ngonyaka. Amasampula amaningi atholakala emakilomitheni angama-80km eduze kolwandle, nasemabhandeni enkungu.

Lokhu kuchaza ukuthi inkungu ngumthombo wamanzi obalulekile lusesi sitshalo. Amaqabunga ngokujwayelekile akhula nge 8-15cm ngonyaka. Izitshalo esezindala ezinye zazo ziyafika kwi-1.8m ububanzi ubude bube yi-6.2m. Lokhu kusho ukuthi iminyaka yaso iphakathi kwama-500 kuya kwi-1000 yeminyaka.

Ucwaningo oluningi olwenziwa ogwadule kuthiwa yi-Welwitschia Fläche, ingama-50km eduze kwe-Swakopmund, Khan nemifula ekuthiwa yi-Swakop.

Umlando

I-Welwitschia yokuqala yatholwa yi-botanist yase-Austria uFriedrich Welwitsch (1806 -1872) ngo-1860 ehlane lase-Namibia, eningizimu yase-Angola. Lesi sitshalo sabizwa ngegama lakhe ngenxa yempumelelo yocwaningo lakhe, yize kungeziye owokuqala owasibona.

Dr. Friedrich Welwitsch (1806 -1872)

Dr. Friedrich Welwitsch wazalelwa e-Austria. Waqala waba ngumhlaziyi wemidlalo yeshashalazi. Emuveni kwalokho wahamba wayohlala ePortugal lapho waqala khona ukuqoqa izitshalo. Emuveni kweminyaka embalwa wathunyelwa e-Angola nguhulumeni wamaPutukezi, lapho ewafika khona waqoqa izitshalo ezingaphezulu kwezi-5000, eminyakeni eli-12.

Ezinye ososayensi babeqala ukuzibona ngaleso sikhathi, futhi zazinemininingwane eminingi. Uma ebuya e-Angola, wakhetha ukuhlala eLandani ukuze abese duze neNatural History Museum neRoyal Botanical Gardens, lapho wasebenza khona kwaze kwafika isikhathi sakhe sokushona ngo-1872.

Emuva kokushona kwakhe uhulumeni wamaPutukezi (ekuwuyena owayexhasa umsebenzi wakhe), wasa abaphathi bezwe lakhe enkantolo befuna ukuthi kubuyiswe amaqoqo akhe. Emuva komdonsiswano omude, ewathatha iminyaka emithathu, kwafinyelelwa esinqumweni sokuthi ukulumeni wasePutukezi uthole umsebenzi kaWelwitsch bese iNatural History Museum ithole awesibili.

Udokotela Friedrich Welwitsch wangcwatshelwa eKensal Green Cemetery eLandani. Ithuna lakhe lihlotshiswe ngomdwebo we-Welwitschia.

Olunye ulwazi

Kwakukhona isikhathi lapho okwakucatshangwa ukuthi kunebhungane elihlala kwi-Welwitschia elalaziwa ngokuthi yi-Welwitschia Bug [Probergrothius sexpunctatis] elalimpova lesi sitshalo, kodwa manje kuthiwa lokho akulona iqiniso.