Tree: Baobab (Adansonia digitata)

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Baobab Hill

Unread post by arks »

Baobab Hill
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Baobab on S60 from Punda to Klopperfontein

Unread post by bert »

S60 from Punda to Klopperfontein, just past the junction S59
On your left.
This route takes you past several baobabs and steenbokkies.
According to the Punda sightingsbook sometimes cheetah can be found on this route.

Unread post by Jumbo »

Seems the baobab, relocated from Letaba and photographed by Krokodile, is adapting well in his new “home” at Giriyondo.

DuQues wrote:Image

A more recent photo of one of them. Both seem to be doing extremely well, this one a little better than the other.

Unread post by Jumbo »

Some interesting facts I found on Baobabs on the following website

Uses and cultural aspects

Large baobab trees with hollow stems have been used by people for centuries for various purposes including houses, prisons :shock: , pubs, storage barns, and even as bus stops! A big tree in the old Transvaal region is recorded as once being used as a dairy.
Another tree near Leydsdorp was used as a bar (known as the Murchison Club) and utilized by prospectors and miners during the gold rush of the late 19th century. One such tree in the Caprivi Strip was converted into a toilet, complete with a flushing system. :lol:

Rainwater often collects in the clefts of the large branches, and travelers and local people often use this valuable source of water. It has been recorded that in some cases the centre of the tree is purposely hollowed out to serve as a reservoir for water during the rainy season. One such reservoir was recorded as holding 4 546 litres of water. A hole is drilled in the trunk and a plug inserted so that water can be easily retrieved by removing the plug. The roots of the baobab can also be tapped for water……

….There are many legends and superstitions surrounding the baobab tree. For example, it is believed that an elephant frightened the maternal ancestor of the baobab.{Might be why the tree jumped into the ground head first :wink: } In some parts the baobab is worshipped as a symbol of fertility. It is a belief among certain people that spirits inhabit the flowers of the baobab and that any person who picks a flower will be eaten by a lion. :shock: It is also believed that water in which the seeds have been soaked will offer protection against attack by crocodile, while sucking or eating the seeds may attract crocodiles. :? It is also believed that a man who drinks an infusion of the bark will become strong. In some areas a baby boy should be bathed in such a bark infusion, as this will make him strong; however, he should not be bathed for too long or he may become obese. :lol: It is also important that this water does not touch his head for this could cause it to swell. :shock: When inhabitants move from one area to another they often take seeds of the baobab with them, which they plant at their new homestead.

The bark on the lower part of the trunk often bears scars caused by local people who harvest and pound it to retrieve the strong fibre. The fibrous bark is used to make various useful items such as mats and ropes, fishing nets, fishing lines, sacks as well as clothing. Although the bark is often heavily stripped by people and elephants, these trees do not suffer as a normal tree would from ringbarking. Baobabs have the ability to simply continue growing and produce a new layer of bark. :hmz: The wood of the baobab is soft, light yellow and spongy, and although it has been recorded as being used for making boxes, this does not seem to be a widely used practice.

Many references have made mention of the exceptional vitality of this tree, noting that even after the entire tree is cut down it simply resprouts from the root and continues to grow; the same is noted of trees which have been blown over in storms. Despite this remarkable vitality, when a tree dies it collapses into a heap of soggy, fibrous pulp. Stories exist of how such quickly decomposing trees spontaneously combust and get completely burnt up.

More than 260 years ago baobabs were apparently successfully grown in England and had reached heights of 5-6 m, but were all destroyed in the heavy frosts of 1740. Surprisingly few baobabs have found their way into cultivation, possibly due to their reputation of being exceptionally slow growing.

...A number of significantly large, historical baobab trees can be seen in the Limpopo Province:
*The Sagole Baobab is recorded as being the biggest tree in South Africa with a stem diameter of 10.47 m, a height of 22 m and a crown spread of 38.2 m. It grows east of Tshipise.
*The Glencoe Baobab near Hoedspruit is probably the second largest and bears several trunks. It has a stem diameter of 15.9 m, a height of 17 m and a crown spread of 37.05 m. This tree has dates carved on the stem from 1893 and 1896.
*The Platland Baobab that grows near Duiwelskloof, today houses a pub. It has a stem diameter of 10.64 m, a height of 19 m, and a crown spread of 30.2 m.
*The Buffesldrift Baobab which is in the Makopane District, has a distinct trunk with a diameter of 7.71 m, a height of 22 m and a crown spread of 30.2 m.[/quote]
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Unread post by reinette »

A young boab. The first time I saw one (and knowing it) in the veld.
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Baobab commets

Unread post by Wildman »

Does anyone have any comments regarding the old baobab tree of Shimuwini (means place of baobab) in the KNP. What a fantastic specimen! Really breathtaking.
Mopani Camp also has a really magnificent baobab tree inside the camp itself.

I’m very concerned about the general state of the baobabs in KNP. I was in the park earlier this year and my brother (a game ranger) pointed out to me the degree and frequency of damage to the base trunks of these beautiful trees, mostly inflicted by elephants. Apparently this damage is fatal to the trees in most cases. The section between Punda Maria and Pafuri is particularly bad.

Does anyone have any further information and comments about this?
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Unread post by MarkWildDog »

Baobab Tree
(Adansonia digitata)

Family: Bombacaceae.
Common names: Baobab, Cream of Tartar tree, monkey-bread tree, lemonade tree.

Largest succulent plant in the world. Can reach a height of up to 28m. Most people call it the upside-down tree because it's branches looks like a root system. Stem is covered in a greyish brown smooth bark layer, which can be 50-100m thick. Leaves are hand-sized & are decidious, which means the leaves drop during winter & appear during summer. Flowers are white, large & pendulous, which measures up to 200mm in diameter. Flowers emerge in the late afternoons. They fall & turn brown within 24 hours & leave quite an unpleasant smell behind. Fruit bats pollinate during the evenings. Fruit is covered with yellowish brown hairs & is in a large egg shape. Growing is slow for this tree, mostly because of low rainfall, but elephants also cause some problems.

Found in the hot, dry woodland, stoney, well drained, frost-free & low rainfall areas in the Limpopo Province of South Africa.

Bats, insects & birds visit & pollinate the flowers. Baboons & monkeys collect the dropped seed capsules of this tree. The seeds of this tree aren't eaten by animals.
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Why the boabab is known as the Upside-down tree

Unread post by Johan van Rensburg »

The reference in this thread on numerous occasions that the baobab has somehow landed up with roots pointing to the sky is “rooted” in African folklore.
Some stories go that the baobab was thrown out of paradise because of constantly whinging about wanting to be prettier, taller and just generally better than what it was.
It landed on earth upside down but continued to prosper.
In other stories the hyena gets blamed for planting the Baobab wrong way up in ignorance.

Many thousands of years ago, my favourite version of the many legends about the upside-down tree goes, before human beings inhabited the earth, the trees were the most important of all life on earth.
The gods each made a tree and bestowed on it properties to be enjoyed by the other gods.
Some trees were made with good fruit to eat, some were made strong and hard for furniture, others were made for security and still other were made just for beauty.
The gods loved the trees and would come down to earth and sit in their shade, eat of their fruit and place the flowers in their hair.
They assured each of the trees that they were all created equal and that no one tree was loved more than another.
Finally a group of gods decided to make the best tree of all, so they combined their talents and made a tree so big, so beautiful, with such fruit and so useful that they were amazed and they clapped their hands with delight.
They called it the Baobab.

This tree had rainbow coloured flowers that shone as if the heavens had just rained them down onto the tree.
It flowered all year long with no regard for the seasons.
It produced the sweetest, juiciest cool fruit.
Its leaves were used for healing and its wood was good for furniture.

But the baobab tree grew haughty as a result of its great size, and even greater beauty and value.
It started to give orders to the other trees and soon the other trees became afraid of the baobab tree and were resenting it.

When the gods came down to sit under the trees they heard the rustling of the leaves and branches and the saw that the other trees were most unhappy.
This saddened them, for they truly loved all the trees, so they approached the baobab and spoke to it.
They asked it to be gentle and kind to the other trees and reminded it that its properties were gifts from the gods, not something that the baobab had learned to do.
But the baobab grew prouder still, even proud of the fact that the other trees resented it.
It started to taunt the other trees.
The other trees became even more miserable.
The useful trees closed their leaves, the branches died and their fruit didn't develop.
The beautiful trees shed their flowers while the baobab continued to flower and fruit and heal.
The gods grew alarmed and held a council.
They then approached the baobab and gave it one last warning. "If you don't stop making the other trees unhappy, we will be forced to withdraw the properties we gave you at creation".
But the birds in the branches whispered that the gods could not withdraw a gift once given and the baobab just laughed.

Now the other trees started to droop, refusing to drink water, even when rained upon them gently from the sky.
The gods had to do something.

Then one delicate little tree died.
This so angered the god who created that tree that he swept down, grabbed the baobab, pulled it up by its mighty roots and turned it upside down.
Now its beautiful leaves and flowers were in the ground and the roots were in the air.
The baobab was silenced.
Then one by one the trees began to drink.
This is how the mighty baobab became a tree with its roots in the air - so that all the rest of creation can see how the arrogant are humbled.
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Unread post by reinette »

Taken at 13:15, 20 September 2007
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Unread post by reinette »

Some pictures of the great baobab on the Lebombo trail. This tree is in the Mozambican side of the park.

Image Image

The 'hollow' inside:
Image Image

Just look at the texture of the bark:
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Re: 20 trees in knp for beginners

Unread post by Chappie »

Great thread. Well I'll take tree number one - the easiest of them all!

Adansonia digitata, the baobab, is the most widespread of the Adansonia species on the African continent, found in the hot, dry savannahs of sub-Saharan Africa. It also grows, having spread secondary to cultivation, in populated areas. The northern limit of its distribution in Africa is associated with rainfall patterns;
The trees usually grow as solitary individuals, and are large and distinctive trees on the savannah, in the scrub, and near settled areas, with some large individuals living to well over a thousand years of age The tree bears very large, heavy white flowers. The showy flowers are pendulous with a very large number of stamens. They carry a carrion scent and researchers have shown they appear to be primarily pollinated by fruit bats of the subfamily Pteropodinae. The fruits are filled with pulp that dries, hardens, and falls to pieces which look like chunks of powdery, dry bread.
The baobab is a traditional food plant in Africa, but is little-known elsewhere. It has been suggested that the vegetable has the potential to improve nutrition, boost food security, foster rural development and support sustainable landcare.
Vernacular names
Adansonia digitata is known by many names, the most common of which is baobab. It is also known as the 'dead-rat tree' (from the appearance of the fruits), 'monkey-bread tree' (the soft, dry fruit is edible), 'upside-down tree' (the sparse branches resemble roots) and cream of tartar tree. In French, it is known as calebassier du Sénégal and arbre de mille ans; in Portuguese as molambeira, imbondeiro, calabaceira and cabacevre; and in Swahili as mbuyu, mkuu hapingwa, mkuu hafungwa and muuyu.
The African baobab's fruit (6 to 8 inches, or 15 cm to 20 cm long) has twice as much calcium as milk, is high in anti-oxidants, iron and potassium, and has 6 times the vitamin C of an orange. The leaves can be eaten as relish, while the fruit dissolved in milk or water can be used as a drink. The seeds also produce edible oil.
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Re: 20 trees in knp for beginners

Unread post by Lockie »

Forestgump...great thread :thumbs_up:

Thanks Chappie...very informative especially about the edible fruit and milk :thumbs_up:
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Re: 20 trees in knp for beginners

Unread post by michel367 »

I addition to Chappie's excelent reply on the Baobab.
I have heard that the San also use the nuts inside the fruit to make some kind of coffee out of it.
Is that true? :hmz:
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Re: 20 trees in knp for beginners

Unread post by forestgump »


Consumption: In immature pods, the seeds and pulp are eaten together. With mature pods, the pulp is pounded to remove the seeds; after removing the seeds, the dried pod pulp is pounded to produce a flour. The flour is then used to make pudding or drinks. The fruit has a pleasant flavor but is acidic. The seeds are roasted and consumed.

MICHEL367 :thumbs_up: will try and find out more on the San roasting nuts for coffee
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Baobab at Mopani

Unread post by flying cheetah »

While looking at the pics of Chappies trip report I started to dream of the wonderful baobab at Mopani again. A trip to Kruger wouldn't be complete for me without saying hello to this venerable tree!
I often wondered how old this tree might be :hmz: Does anyone have an idea or maybe has read something about it?
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