The "!" in the name stands for a clicking sound made with your tongue and the roof of your mouth.

Julia R. Ambrose,
Scientific Officer, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, England, sent us everything you would want to know about the !narra plant.

The Acanthosicyos Horridus

In the Namib Desert the fruits and seeds of !narra have been used for nearly 8000 years (a) and are still harvested by local Topnaar-Hottentots (b)

The impact of the plant is felt not only by the people who live there, but also by the small animals, insects, microorganisms, and the desert as a whole.

Starlogo is a program you can use to explore decentralized systems. You can download and read about it here.

The !narra as a *Starlogo project

To watch a movie of the !Narra
click here. (332k)

Here is a *Starlogo simulation of the plant. You will need the *Starlogo program to run the project


Greatest Places Online ©1999 Science Museum of Minnesota


Sandelowsky, 1977
Sandelowsky, B.H. (1977) Mirabib--an archeological study in the Namib. Madoquo, 10(4):10-21

Dentlinger, 1977, pers. obs., 1992
Dentlinger, U. (1977). The !Narra Plant in the Topnaar Hottento Culture of Namibia. Munger African Library notes, No.38. Pasedena: California Institute of Technology. 39 pp.

Arnold, T.H., Wells, M.J. and Wehmeyer, A.S. 1985.
Khoisan food plants: taxa with potential for future economic exploitation. In Wickens, G.E., Goodin, J.R. and Field, D.V., eds. Plants for arid lands. London, U.K.: Unwin Hyman. Pp. 69-86. En. Proceedings of the Kew International Conference on Economic Plants for Arid Lands, 23-27 July 1984, held in the Jodrell Laboratory, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, England.