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Tree: Baobab (Adansonia digitata)

Find, identify and discuss the plants of all the SANParks
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ceruleanwildfire
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Unread post by ceruleanwildfire » Thu Apr 07, 2005 4:08 pm

This is quoted out of one of my books so I can't take credit for it;

Making the most of Indigenous Trees wrote:During the rainy season when the trees are in leaf, it is a good fodder tree, especially for game (elephant, kudu, nyala and impala). At the end of the season cattle eat the fallen leaves. Various game species and cattle relish the fallen flowers. Elephant sometimes destroy vast numbers of baobab trees by tearing off pieces of the stem for moisture. The only way to save these trees is to restrict the number of elephant in the area. The roots can be tapped for water and the young roots cooked and eaten. Fibre from the inner bark is used for rope, baskets, nets and fishing lines. The young leaves are cooked and eaten as spinach or can be dried and powdered to be used later. The leaves are rich in vitamin C, sugars and potassium tartrate. The acid pith of the fruit is rich in ascorbic acid and can be used to make a refreshing drink. Seeds can be eaten fresh or dry or roasted to provide a substitute for coffee. The pulp and seeds have a high nutritional value and are recommended for feeding to stock late in the dry season when grazing is poor. The baobab is a popular species for bonsai specimens. The South African "Baobab Style" originated from this species.

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Unread post by Krokodile » Thu Apr 07, 2005 11:35 pm

Fishing floats are made from the wood.
Juice from the bark can be inserted into a poisoned arrow wound to stop the poison from spreading.
Flour can be made from the roots.,

Dr Livingstone apparently called the Baobab "the giant upturned carrot".

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Unread post by Guinea Pig » Fri Apr 08, 2005 7:32 am

This tree blew my mind. I never realised how versatile it was. This is what I got from books:

1. Among the branches you'll find a cavity often filled with water - even in the driest months, and anyone willing to climb a tree will be able to quench his thirst.
2. The leaves can be boiled for something the equivalent of spinach.
3. Seeds can either be eaten as is or ground and used as replacement for coffee.
4. The fruit is a rich source of calcium and Vit C.
5. The fruit contains tartaric acid used to make sherbet.
6. The spongy wood can be processed into ropes.
7. San Bushmen use the seeds as an anti-dote to Strophantin, a common plant-derived arrow poison. (This one DuQues sent me as we got totally immersed in this magic tree!)
8. Makes good fodder for game in dry months.
9. Roots can be tapped for water.
10. Fruit is also used in making Cream of Tartar (See 5).
11. Roots are used to make a soluble red dye, leaves a soluble green dye.
12. The hard fruit shells are used as pots for food and drink.
13. The pollen from the tree is used to manufacture a quite acceptable glue.
14. It's a popular Bonsai Species.
15. Some of the more unconventional uses - bar, toilet, gathering place etc. :lol:

If this were a human - one 8) dude! :lol:
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Unread post by DuQues » Fri Apr 08, 2005 9:00 am

OK, You forgot some salient points:
16. Repairs hippo/rhino hide (Proof!)
17. Reminds people that even Gods can make mistakes. (Bushman tales again, they thought it was planted upsidedown).

The food use should have been very easy for the Dutch (And Belgians) as the Dutch name for Baobab is apenbroodboom. (Monkeybreadtree).

For an indepth report on the uses, nutricional value, distribution, and research, visit here. Bit of a long read, readers of this thread will mostly be interested in Chapter 5, Domestic food uses and local processing.
Pictures of all the species of Baobab can be found throughout the report. (Bushman hole, Chapter 2, just like the bar.)
Not posting much here anymore, but the photo's you can follow here There is plenty there.

Feel free to use any of these additional letters to correct the spelling of words found in the above post: a-e-t-n-d-i-o-s-m-l-u-y-h-c

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Unread post by DuQues » Fri Apr 15, 2005 9:51 am

Yet another little fact which we overlooked:

Devils dwell in baobabs, awaiting their victims. It is said that if you put your ear to the trunk, you can hear them laughing. Some African people sing when they pass baobab trees at night, so as not to be influenced by the spirits' voices. The flowers, too, contain spirits, and anyone who picks them will be eaten by a lion.

(From the Ghosts and Magic in the Kruger National Park page, which you can find here.)
Thanx WTM!
Not posting much here anymore, but the photo's you can follow here There is plenty there.

Feel free to use any of these additional letters to correct the spelling of words found in the above post: a-e-t-n-d-i-o-s-m-l-u-y-h-c

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Baobabs in Kruger (Photo's)

Unread post by wildtuinman » Tue Jun 28, 2005 6:48 am

In the Makuleke area between the Levuuu river and the Pafuri gate. Not too far from the bridge side.
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Unread post by francoisd » Tue Jun 28, 2005 8:07 am

The Baobab at Baobab Hill is on a hill as far as I can remember and if I'm not mistaken this is it below...
ImageLarge

and this is a view down the road at Baobab Hill looking in the direction of Pafuri.
You may notice the green belt next to the river in the distance
ImageLarge
Last edited by Elsa on Mon Oct 14, 2013 12:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Pics resized.
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Unread post by Katja » Wed Jun 29, 2005 5:05 pm

I took this picture of the same tree at the end of May 2005.

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Unread post by wildtuinman » Thu Jun 30, 2005 6:37 am

Another foto taken in June 2004.

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Unread post by 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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Unread post by 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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Unread post by 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 post by 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 post by 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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Re: Where was I exactly 21 years ago today?

Unread post by 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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