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Welwitschia is one of three genera in the gymnosperm group of seed plants known as Gnetales, whose relationship to other plants has long been a subject of controversy among botanists and evolutionary biologists. Welwitschia includes just a single species, Welwitschia mirabilis, which is found in the Namib Desert of southwestern Africa (Namibia and Angola). The species is dioecious (i.e., individual plants are either male or female) and each adult plant consists of a giant taproot, a very short woody stem, and two permanent strap-shaped leaves.

(McCoy et al. 2008)

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