n Veld & Flora - Kleinduimpie grass : , the only succulent grass in the world : Namib desert flora

Volume 95, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0042-3203


Kleinduimpie grass (Kleinduimpie is the Afrikaans equivalent of Tom Thumb) is a unique, tiny, leaf-succulent grass that is endemic to the strip of coastal desert in southern Namibia and the adjacent north-western part of South Africa. I was privileged to see it near Alexander Bay and, recently, near the town of Luderitz.

The coastal Namib Desert is a cool desert and although the annual rainfall is only 15 mm, it is well vegetated and especially rich in leaf-succulent flora. The reason for this is the regular, dense fog that is created when hot air is cooled by the cold, north-flowing Benguela Ocean Current. This peculiar climatic condition, the result of having a cold ocean in a warm position (in terms of latitude and altitude) also occurs in the Galapagos Islands.

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