Welwitschia is a monotypic gymnosperm genus, comprising the distinctive Welwitschia mirabilis. The plant is endemic to the Namib Desert within Namibia and Angola. After germination the seedling produces two cotyledons that grow to 25-35 mm in length and have reticulate venation. Subsequently two foliage leaves are produced from the edge of a woody, bilobed crown. The leaves are ribbon-shaped with parallel veins and grow continuously from basal meristems at the edge of the crown, reaching up to 4 m in length. The species is dioecious, with separate male and female plants. It is a seed plant but not a flowering plant and the male and female organs are produced in different shaped strobili. The plants are difficult to age but many may be 1000 years old and some more than 2000 years old.