Welwitschia flowers from seed in 18 months
Seeds were sown in situ in the Ian Reddihough Welwitschia Corner Unit of the Botanical Society Conservatory at Kirstenbosch in November 2010 in red sand which was obtained from just north of Vanrhynsdorp. The seed sown was collected in Angola in January 2009 on the expedition arranged by Professor Brian Huntley. Seeds germinated rapidly (within a few days to a week)
During winter heating cables were used. The welwitschia plants grew very rapidly and to everyone's surprise a young male came into cone earlier this year (2012) and flowered in autumn, just 18 months after being sown. This is a record.
This corner unit which previously housed alpines, is currently closed and will be re-opening next year 2013 as part the the Kirstenbosch 100 year anniversary. However the plants can be viewed through the windows. Prof. Pearson, the first curator of KIrstenbosch, studied Welwitschia in detail.