Found in Namibian desert of Africa, Welwitschia is considered a "living fossil". It has been around for over 200 million years and while all of the other plants from that time have slowly vanished, it has managed to survive in the empty desert of The Namib. The one pictured is estimated to be over 2000 years old.
The Namib is almost completely uninhabited by humans, except for several small settlements and indigenous pastoral groups. The average annual rainfall is less than 10 mm (0.39 in) of rain. The plant lives by sending a tap root deep underground, and collecting dew formed during the early mornings.
As they are located in very inhospitable regions of Nambia and Angola, they are not a threatened genus at this time. Plants in Angola are even better protected than those in Namibia, because of the relatively high concentration of landmines in Angola, which keep collectors away. The plant is featured in the Coat of arms of Namibia right under the shield.