One of the many professional attractions for me of a career in plant biology is the opportunity to meet and work with interesting colleagues, often in fascinating locations. A convergence of circumstances, beginning with my postdoctoral tenure at Manchester University and culminating with the XVI International Botanical Congress in St. Louis, took a colleague and me to southern Africa last year. One of the top two objectives of the trip was to see Welwitschia mirabilis in its native habitat. I wanted to add Welwitschia to my botanical "life list," which already included the Rhynie chert, Linnaeus' garden, Sequoiadendron giganteum, the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, and Stigmaria, among other things. Through the wonders of e-mail, global positioning system (GPS) coordinates, and 4-wheel drive vehicles, our mission was accomplished, with the added bonus of finding and adding to the known populations of Welwitschia with extra foliage leaves.

Key words: morphology, Namib Desert, Welwitschia mirabilis