baobab

Adansonia digitata (L.)

Category:

Product Description

Description: Often a massive deciduous tree. Unique shaped tree, bottled shape, with unarmed fat trunk, comparatively short, but often with huge circumference. Adonsonia digitata occurs on low altitude woodlands and open grass land. Bark smooth reddish, and folded. Leaves hand shaped, at the ends of branches only during rainy season. Flowers are solitary and pendulous white and crinkly. Fruit is oval, woody covered in velvety hairs.

Features of Particular Interest: Shape, trunk, bark and fruit.

Height and Spread: Up to 20m high and equally spread when mature.

Periods of Interest  

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

Leaf

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

Flower

X

X

X

X

Fruit

X

X

X

X

X

Stem

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

Cultivation

Soil and Moisture: Any soil.

Aspect: In full sun or partial light shade.

Hardiness: Drought resistant and can withstand cold but sensitive to frost. Do not plant if have more than one day frost a year.

Maintenance and Pruning: Growth rate is moderate, about 0.5–0.8m per year.

Propagation: Easily from seed, soaked overnight in hot water. Plants will flower after 15 – 20 years.

Problems and Drawbacks: is sometimes considered too slow but it is always a feature at any size, even tiny baby in a pot.

Use and Associated Plants: Cattle and game eat fallen leaves. Various game relish the fallen flowers and elephants strip and eat the bark. Roots can be tapped for water; leaves can be used for relish rich in Vitamin C, sugars and potassium tartrate. The seed pods are a source of cream of tartar and rich in Vitamin C. The seeds are refreshing to suck, and when soaked in water make a palatable drink. The bark if pounded makes useful rope, and floor mats. It makes an excellent specimen tree in the garden alone on the lawn for example and is a popular bonsai specimen. Bark can be stripped from the lower trunk and it is able to regenerate new bark, even when the interior of the tree has been burnt out it continues to flourish. Hollowed out trunks have served as prisons, houses, barns, and even toilets (Katima Mulilo).

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Notes: Carbon dating indicates that baobabs with a diameter of over 10m may be over 2000 years old. It is a tree that is surrounded in legend and superstition. One story is that God planted them upside down.

Family:
Bombacaceae
Genus:
Adansonia
Species:
digitata
Common Name(s):
Baobab
Origin:
Southern Africa
Size:
Large
Flower Colour:
White
Fruit Colour:
Light Brown
Features:
Specimen, Fruit/Seed Pod
References:
Coates Palgrave p.705, Johnson p.73, Storrs 1 p.87-88, van Wyk 2 p.46, Venter, p.26.
Pocket List of S.A Indigenous Trees No.:
467
Zimbabwe Nat. Tree List No.:
684