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The !nara is an amazing plant native to the dunes that parallel the watercourses in what is one of the world’s oldest deserts. The tap-root of the !nara can bore up to 40 meters down to find moisture, and once rooted its tangled branches form a thick crown that stabilizes the shifting sands around it. Plants augment ground moisture with condensation from the coastal fogs that blanket the areas in which they are found. The unique adaptations of the !nara allow individual plants to live for over 100 years in this harsh environment.

Every part of the !nara’s melon-like fruit can be used in some fashion. Outside protected areas, the Topnaar people traditionally use the husks for livestock feed; the nuts form a protein-rich staple of the Topnaar diet. The fruity flesh of the melon can be dried and stored for several years. The !nara is also thought to have medicinal properties for everything from stomach ailments to sunburn protection. In recent years the melon has become an important export to neighbouring countries.

Fossil evidence indicates that the !nara existed some 40 million years ago. The !nara was probably utilized in the stone-age, and it is likely that the plant is the sole reason why the desert tribes survived in their habitat to modern day
This photograph is copyright of Rosemary Walden - © Rosemary Walden 2013. All rights reserved. Any redistribution or reproduction of the image in any form is prohibited. You may not, except with my express written permission, copy, reproduce, download, distribute or exploit the content. Nor may you transmit it or store it in any other website or other form of electronic retrieval system

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Additional Photos by Rosemary Walden (SnapRJW) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2636 W: 71 N: 6362] (28921)
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