Sunday 13 September 2009: Pachypodium namaquanum: Half mens boom
Close up of the bark of the half human tree, mostly found in the Richtersveld in South Africa.
Covered with spines, it is not a fellow to run into after dark.
The Richtersveld National Park is a spectacular mountainous desert region in South Africa's northwestern corner. In the park, which is inhabited only by small groups of Nama, one finds a singular vegetation with innumerable species of succulents.
This is the only place where the remarkable halfmensboom (half-person tree) grows. The top of this succulent tree consists of a bunch of thick, crinkled leaves, reminiscent of a human head, the unusual appearance being the inspiration for its name.
The climate in the Richtersveld is extreme with summer temperatures exceeding 50 degrees Celsius quite frequently. Rain is a rare event. Plants and animals get moisture primarily from the sea fog.
During a good year, the growth may be only a few millimeters; they also have the tendency to grow 'towards' the equator.
An ancient and prehistoric plant that is well worth lots of respect and admiration.
Image shot in Blanche's garden.