South Africa :: Northern Cape (Richtersveld)
Category: Attraction :: Botanical
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Pachypodium namaquanum is in Afrikaans known as the Halfmens and in English as the Half-human tree. It is a succulent plant growing up to 3 - 4 meters tall with a warty trunk densely covered in long, sharp spines to protect it from damage by thirsty animals. This tree-like plant which is endemic to the Richtersveld in the Northern Cape and Namibia, is devoid of branches and has a crown of leaves at the apex of the trunk during the growing season which is throughout the winter months. It loses its leaves during summer and remains dormant throughout the intensely hot conditions of the dry summer months. In spring (August to October) tubular velvet-textured flowers appear. Where damaged, the trunk produces side-branches that immediately curve back to the vertical. The top of the plant is usually bent to the north to enable it to increase photosynthesis during the growing winter season. Nama (Khoi-Khoi) legend today has it that their ancestors once lived in a more fertile area of Namibia. Driven southwards by warring tribes, some turned back to look with longing across the Gariep (Orange) River one last time. The gods took pity on them and turned them into trees to relieve them from their suffering. Seen from a distance against the skyline they look like people frozen in motion gazing towards the north.
|Address :||Richtersveld, South Africa|
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