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Tree: Baobab (Adansonia digitata)

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francoisd
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Unread postby francoisd » Mon Oct 03, 2005 10:57 am

The following article appeared in the latest Science in Africa newsletter. I've emailed it to some of the forum members and one of the moderators said I could post it here.

Taste Them - don't waste them.

Dr Garth Cambray

In Africa, many of the staple foods that we eat are not indigenous to Africa.
However, we are blessed with a huge diversity of commercialisable indigenous food products.
Some of these have been commercialised outside our continent and the products are exported back to us.

In many cases, forests with great species diversity are cleared to grow crops.
Non wood forest products from uncleared forest regions can in some cases provide better and more sustainable income opportunities.

In this article we will explore the potential of two African forest products to contribute to employment creation and conservation.

The baobab tree, (Adansonia digitata) is synonymous with sub-tropical and tropical Africa.
It can live for thousands of years.
In the wet months it grows leaves and stores copious water in its thick fibrous trunk.
In the dry months it sheds its leaves and uses stored water to survive.

The tree can be used for its fibre, the leaves can be used to make jam and the fruits can be eaten.
Baobabs are excellent housing providers to honeybees as they frequently contain big nooks and crannies in which bees can build nests.

However, in much of Africa, the baobab is threatened by growth in human populations - the age old 'pretty tree vs field of food' question is resulting in these big old trees being removed.
But if one can find a way of turning the tree into a source of income, then, it will stay and be cared for.

The Malambe Fruit Juice company in Malawi has developed a way of making a tasty fruit juice out of the fruits of the baobab. In fact, the name Malambe actually means baobab.

Throughout Africa the problem exists that capital flows to cities where people exist in comparative luxury to that of rural areas.
Most food and consumer goods are imported and very little money is paid to people in rural areas for their produce as they don't sell much to the cities.
By establishing rural industries which provide services to the cities, some money returns to rural economies and the wheel begins to turn.

Baobab fruit is harvested in rural areas and the juice is extracted and marketed.
About 4000 bottles of Malambe juice are produced per month, allowing rural people to earn a living.
The juice is very healthy having 8 times more vitamin C than orange juice and also containing a lot of iron. Baobabs are also entirely organic plants.

If Malambe Juice were to acquire an international market, the baobab, that great symbol of African plants, would begin to slowly reverse the flow of money from poor to rich areas and ensure that in 100 years time we will still be able to enjoy these gentle giant trees.
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leopardspotter
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Unread postby leopardspotter » Sun Oct 16, 2005 12:19 pm

This photo was not taken in the park, but just outside it.

The boabab is also hollow
and you can go inside of it as well as climb up.
Image

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Krokodile
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Unread postby Krokodile » Sun Oct 16, 2005 3:22 pm

When we were staying in Letaba rest camp in May, the relocation of 2 baobabs to the Giriyondo border post was taking place.
We were talking to one of the camp staff about Baobabs in general and he told us that the "southernmost baobab" is a bit of a misnomer.
I didn't check out what he told us, but he said that there is a baobab at Skukuza and they would grow pretty-much anywhere (hence the plants for sale).
Apparently, there are some baobabs in Nelspruit (possibly in the botanic gardens?).
Can anyone confirm or refute this?

I have also noticed that on my map, the "southernmost baobab" is called "big baobab".

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Freda
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Unread postby Freda » Sun Oct 16, 2005 4:02 pm

There is also a small baobab in Malelane camp, can't get much more south in Kruger than that :lol:

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Unread postby Johann » Mon Oct 17, 2005 4:42 pm

It's labelled as the Southern-most Natural Baobab.

Could the others you have mentioned been planted by humans, especially the ones in camps and the Botanical Gardens?

{Edit by DQ: The Southern-most Baobab photo's can also be found here.}
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Southernmost Boabab 21 years ago

Unread postby arks » Sun Nov 06, 2005 12:03 am

I think this is an easy one :D - partly just an experiment to see if I can upoload the pic

Image
Last edited by arks on Mon Jan 02, 2006 4:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread postby acekam » Sun Nov 06, 2005 12:07 am

Southernmost Boabab
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Re: Where was I exactly 21 years ago today?

Unread postby Loams » Sun Nov 06, 2005 6:31 pm

You know, I asked a really stupid question actually, with that length of road, one can only be heading West. Anyhow, this is a photo I took of the same tree over Easter.

Look at the vegetation difference. Sorry, it's not from the same angle, because you couldn't see the baobab from the entrance. What are they saying about Elephants destroying trees and vegetation???? Yes, I know it's only a small area and you can't base a whole study on this. Still food for thought

Image

*EDIT* BTW, I am facing East in this pic
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Baobab

Unread postby DuQues » Wed Nov 23, 2005 2:44 pm

I have a trunk circumference of 31 meters.

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Unread postby Katja » Wed Nov 23, 2005 6:01 pm

The baobab is in Mapungubwe National Park.
KTP: November 2014
KNP: March 2015

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Unread postby Katja » Wed Nov 23, 2005 6:51 pm

DuQues wrote:Completely correct!

Thank you. Image

(Has anyone got a photo of it?)

This could be a photo of the baobab: http://www.sanparks.org/gallery/mapungubwe/Baobab


EDIT: Maybe the baobab on the photo looks too small to be the one we are talking about. With a circumference of 31 metres, it would have to have a diameter of about 10 metres. :? (did I get my mathematics right?) :?:

missing image removed by restio
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Unread postby Imberbe » Wed Nov 23, 2005 11:05 pm

This Boabab you are referring to is not even the biggest!! :shock:

According to Thomas Peckham in his book "The remarkable Boabab" the biggest Boabab tree can be found at Sagole in Venda. Its circumference of 44m and a diameter of 14m! :wink:
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Unread postby Oumie » Thu Nov 24, 2005 6:16 am

This is the Boabab pub :wink:

www.baobab.fhi.co.za
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Baobab Hill

Unread postby arks » Sat Jan 07, 2006 7:44 pm

Baobab Hill
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Unread postby Nico » Sat Jan 07, 2006 8:03 pm

Baobab Hill H1-8 near Pafuri.
Image
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