The Lovely Plants

Old, Unusual Trees of Africa: Baobab

Baobab (Adansonia) is the most unusual of all the trees. Native of hot and dry regions of Africa especially in Madagascar, Arabian Peninsula and South Asia, Baobab grows as tall, voluminous and solitary tree. At first appearance, it seems as the tree has been plucked from the ground and pushed back with its head downwards and roots in the air. That is why it is also called Upside Down Tree.

Baobab Trees in Madagascar

Legend has it that Baobab was among the first trees on earth. When it saw tall and smart palm tree, it cried out and wanted to be taller. God granted his wish. Then Baobab wished to have beautiful flowers like the beautiful flame tree. His wish was granted. Baobab looked at the fig tree and wanted to have fruits as well. God became angry with Baobab, pulled it up by its roots and thrust its head in the ground to keep it quite.

Baobab remains leafless for most time of the year and lives on the supply of water (up to 450 liters) that it stores in its fibrous and corky trunk. This extremely drought tolerant tree can live for thousands of years. The biggest and oldest known Baobab tree is about 6000 years old and stands at Sunland Farm in Limpop province of South Africa. Popular Species of Baobab are Adansonia Madagascariensis, Adansonia Grandidieri and Adansonia Digitata.

Baobab (Adansonia) in South Africa

Adansonia Digitata is known for its unusual flower and fruit. Typically, it bears big, white flowers that carry carrion smell. The fruit is 6 to 8 inches long and is rich in calcium, vitamin C and anti-oxidants. Seeds of Adansonia Digitata are used in Africa to extract edible oil whereas the fruit (separated from fiber and seeds) itself is used as nutritious food.