Africa and the Baobab tree are inseparable. When you talk about Africa, then you should mention Baobab tree or Tree of Life. With its unique shape that looks like an upside down tree, people try to find out information about this tree. Whether they try to plant it, which is nearly impossible to do at your yard, or bring home a few parts of its trunk when traveling to Africa.
Unlike other plants that have hundred or thousand species, Baobab has nine different species, and only two species that are cultivated outside Africa. For instance, Adansonia Digitata and Kilima are native to mainland Africa and Arabian peninsula, while Adansonia Gregorii can be found in Australia.
Baobab has interesting facts that you have to read thoroughly, especially if you believe about its myth and legendary stories attached. Although we will not talk about the myth, at least you know the hidden Baobab trees facts that you never thought about Baobab tree before.
Table of Contents
- FACTS of Baobab Tree
- 1. The Man Who Found Baobab Tree
- 2. Tartar Fruit is an Essential Ingredient for Cooking
- 3. The Oldest Baobab Tree
- 4. Baobab Tree Can Accommodated 120.000 Liters of Water
- 5. The Biggest Baobab Tree
- 6. Baobab Tree Appears from Over 200 Million Years Ago
- 7. Baobab Can be Used as a Medicine
- 8. Baobab Pigments are Used in The Industry of Dyes
- 9. Baobab’s Biggest Enemy
- 10. Bats Pollinate The Baobab Trees
- 11. The Tree Bark is Fire Resistant and Has Strong Fibers
- 12. It Reaches of Vitamin C
- 13. Climate Change Causes Baobab Collapsed and Died
- 14. The Flowers Bloom At Night
- 15. It Takes 15 to 20 Years for Baobab Tree to Fruits
- Final Thought
- FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
FACTS of Baobab Tree
As we unravel the facts about these extraordinary trees, we step into a realm where nature’s marvels unfold, revealing a story of endurance, utility, and enchanting beauty.
1. The Man Who Found Baobab Tree
These upside down trees’ genus is named Adansonia. Adansonia takes the name of French botanist Michel Adanson, who described the baobab trees in Senegal. After doing research for 5 years on the Baobab tree, Michel Adanson stated that Baobab is the most useful tree of all. You can use all of the parts of this tree based on the needs.
Therefore, this is the old and giant tree that we should pay more attention to.
2. Tartar Fruit is an Essential Ingredient for Cooking
Tartar fruit is a fruit from seed pulp of Baobab Tree. People often used it to make cream of tartar. It is quite popular for Africans. You can use cream of tartar for any cooking you desire. The taste is fresh, sour and flavorful. Instead of making cream of tartar, the seed pulp has also been used for making the wine.
For instance, The Sa na Njema, Women Group in Tanzania, has made the indigenous effort of making Baobab wine from the seeds of the Baobab tree. The signature taste of this wine becomes one of the main reason for the visitors to visit Africa.
3. The Oldest Baobab Tree
“Grootboom” is considered as the oldest and mature Baobab tree in Africa. Sadly, the Grootboom, one of Baobab trees, had died at the age of 1,275 years old. People believed that the death of this old tree in Namibia was due to mysterious fungal diseases. But after some research, there is no sign that this giant tree dies due to fungus.
Researchers believe that it is more because of increased temperature and the lack of rainfall in Africa for the last decade. Baobab needs to sip up to 80% of water in Namibia that sourced from rainfall. But Grootboom couldn’t take any longer, the rain was not coming. That giant tree died a month before the rainfall in Namibia came.
4. Baobab Tree Can Accommodated 120.000 Liters of Water
It is true that the trunk of Baobab tree can hold up to 120.000 liter gallons of water. It is part of an adaptation to the harsh drought conditions of its environment.
The tree may be tapped in dry periods, therefore they save a lot of water on its trunk for the tree to grow properly. This is the main reason as well that Baobab tree hates elephants very much, because that animal can drink the water from the trunk by destroying the trunk first.
5. The Biggest Baobab Tree
It is called The Glencoe Baobab. It belongs to Adansonia Digitata in Limpopo Province, South Africa. The tree was considered to be the largest living individual, with a maximum circumference of 47 m and a diameter of about 15.9 m.
With a diameter of almost 16m, then we assume that you can build one unit of studio apartment inside the Baobab tree. So, no wonder that people are curious and interested to use the Baobab tree as the public place that can accommodate many people inside.
6. Baobab Tree Appears from Over 200 Million Years Ago
Based on the research, the baobab predates humankind and has been traced back over 200 million years to the Pangea supercontinent. It makes all clear that due to its life-span, which is a thousand years for one tree.
Moreover, back to the era when the climate change was not as rapid as today, it can live up to 2,500 years and the tree contains as much as 500 cubic meters of wood.
7. Baobab Can be Used as a Medicine
Just tell us the disease that comes to your mind, then Baobab can cure it all. Yes, Africans use the roots, bark and leave extracts (methanolic extracts) as high antiviral and antimicrobial for various diseases.
The scientists take a deeper step to research and find out the truth by doing some tests. For instance, the protective effect of African baobab fruit pulp from genus A. digitata on oxidative stress-induced effects in rats by a high-fat diet.
The researchers found out that the pulp of Baobab can be used as a functional food for the natural treatment and prevention of hyperlipidemia associated health abnormalities, by boosting the activities of antioxidant enzymes.
Moreover, the bark contains alkaloid “Adansonin” that Africans believe is an effective way against malaria and fever. Fruit facilitates digestion, reduces fever and improves function of the nervous system as well. Guess it is true, that Baobab tree is the medicine to cure all the diseases you suffer.
8. Baobab Pigments are Used in The Industry of Dyes
This versatile tree can be used for everything. The unique one is the strong pigments of Baobab are used in the industry of dyes. The roots can be used to make red dye.
It becomes the natural dyes for coloring the shirts, net, or bags. Because of the high-pigmentation color from the roots, this Baobab root is still the favorite one for Africans to dye their items until now.
9. Baobab’s Biggest Enemy
Ever wonder what are the things that Baobab hates very much? The Baobab tree hates elephants, elands, and some other animals that chew the bark during the dry seasons.
They chew bark not because they are hungry, but they search for the water inside the trunk of Baobab. One Baobab tree can save 120.000 liters of water, so it is such a holy grail for elephants and elands to enjoy the trunk during the hot summer.
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10. Bats Pollinate The Baobab Trees
Not many people know that Baobab has the host pollinators in order to get the nectar from Baobab flowers. And the pollinators are not birds or butterflies like other flowery plants.
The pollinators for the Baobab tree are bats. Yes, bats love to feed on nectar in order to pollinate the flowers. It is a mutual symbiotic since the night animal that can do this thing is only a bat.
11. The Tree Bark is Fire Resistant and Has Strong Fibers
Because the tree bark has strong fibers and is fire resistant, people tend to use it for producing the clothes. But for the fire resistance on the clothes, it should be tested more to claim the fire resistance when the fibers have already turned into the clothes.
12. It Reaches of Vitamin C
Although the tree looks dry and just contains water and woods, who ever expects that the fresh fruit has a taste like a sorbet? It has an acidic, tart, citrus flavor. Then, it means it is a good source of vitamin C, potassium, carbohydrates, and phosphorus.
Vitamin C content, described as variable in different samples of research, was in a range of 74 to 163 milligrams (1.14 to 2.52 gr) per 100 grams (3.5 Oz) of dried powder.
Also in 2008, baobab dried fruit pulp was authorized in the EU as a safe food ingredient, and later in the year was granted GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status in the United States. Isn’t it lovely to realize that consuming this fruit is not only tasty, but also benefits your health.
13. Climate Change Causes Baobab Collapsed and Died
The phenomenon of climate change is something we cannot deny. Because this case caused the death of Baobab trees, especially in Africa. Since 2005, 9 of the 13 oldest African baobab specimens and 5 of the 6 largest trees, have died or suffered the collapse and death of their largest or oldest stems. Although the trees are so in love with dry areas, the increasing temperature and lack of water due to climate change are different conditions.
14. The Flowers Bloom At Night
For the old and large single tree, hundreds of flowers can bloom beautifully. The bloom period is based on their own rhythm. Some flowers only last for minutes, yet the others can last for a couple hours each night.
So, if you want to see the beautiful white flowers from Baobab, you should go outside at night, of course accompanied by the guide and see how beautiful it is. Oh, don’t forget that the night pollinators will visit the trees as well.
15. It Takes 15 to 20 Years for Baobab Tree to Fruits
When you think that harvesting and enjoying the fruit from the Baobab tree is like harvesting apples or oranges, then you are wrong. Some farmers are discouraged by the fact that Baobab trees can take 15-20 years to fruit.
It is more like waiting for some natural phenomenon in our life. But, recent research has shown by grafting the branches of fruiting trees to seedlings they can fruit in five years. Well, it still is a long time, but it’s better than never.
Each baobab, with its unique ability to store water and support biodiversity, stands as a symbol of resilience and adaptability in the face of harsh climates. Their existence, intertwined with both human culture and wildlife, reminds us of the delicate balance in our natural world.
In learning about these majestic trees, we’re not just uncovering facts; we’re gaining a deeper appreciation for the intricate web of life. Let this newfound understanding inspire us to protect and cherish these natural wonders, ensuring they continue to thrive for generations to come.
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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
How old can baobab trees get?
Baobab trees are among the longest-living life forms on Earth. Some are believed to be over 1,000 years old, with the oldest known baobab estimated to be around 6,000 years old.
These ancient trees have witnessed centuries of history, making them living monuments of the landscapes they inhabit. Their longevity is a testament to their resilience and adaptability in challenging environments.
Can baobab trees be grown in other parts of the world?
Baobab trees are native to Africa, Madagascar, and Australia, but they can be grown in other tropical and subtropical regions. They require dry, hot climates and well-drained soil. However, growing them outside their native habitat can be challenging and requires specific environmental conditions.
Are baobab trees endangered?
While baobab trees are not currently classified as endangered, they are under threat in certain areas. Habitat loss and climate change are the main concerns. Conservation efforts are crucial to ensure these iconic trees continue to thrive for future generations.