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The baobab or Adansonia digitata is a tree from the genus Adansonia of the Malvaceae family of the dicotyledonous class. Most typical for the African savannah.
One of the thickest trees - the trunk circumference reaches 25 m, the height is 18-25 m. The leaves are palmate, falling in the heat; flowers are large (up to 20 cm in diameter), white; fruits are long, similar to huge cucumbers, develop in the hot season.
The baobab lives up to 4-5 thousand years. The fruits contain soft juicy edible pulp.
Other species of the genus Adansonia (10 in total) are common in Africa, Madagascar and Northern Australia, but none of these species reaches the size of a baobab.
The baobab got its name in honor of the French botanist Michel Adanson, who studied Africa in the 18th century. The baobab is the national symbol of Madagascar.
The baobab, like the African tree, is dry. On the contrary, precisely because the baobab grows in arid areas, it was forced to adapt to this area: the tree absorbs water in the rainy season like a huge sponge (which explains their incredible thickness), and does not allow this water to evaporate, already thick, up to 10 centimeters, soft outside and strong enough inside, baobab bark.
The baobab is pollinated by ... bats. The white flowers from the globular buds of the baobab usually appear towards night, spreading around them a rather pleasant aroma that invariably attracts bats known as palm fruit bats. During the night, the mice do their pollination, after which the flowers wither, begin to smell disgusting and, finally, fall off.
Baobabs can live for thousands of years. This can be explained by their special vitality and ability to put down roots in almost any state, even when felled. However, the lifespan of these trees has not been fully determined by scientists. According to some versions, supported by radiocarbon analysis, the age of the baobab can be up to 5500 years, according to others - only up to 1000.
The baobab fruit is edible. Covered with a thick, shaggy skin, the oblong fruits of the baobab, which resemble cucumbers, contain a sourish pulp with black seeds inside, which is very popular with both baboons and humans. Until recently, baobab was banned from eating in Europe, but a couple of years ago, permission was obtained and now fruit cocktails, muesli and cereal bars will be prepared for Europeans from baobab fruits.
Baobab can be used to make lemonade and coffee. To do this, the pulp of the baobab, which tastes like ginger, must be dried, ground into powder and diluted in water. The resulting drink will taste like lemonade and not only cool the drinker, but also feed him with vitamins C and B. Well-roasted baobab seeds are more suitable for coffee.
The bottle tree is also a baobab tree. Only it grows not in Africa, but in Australia and is called more modestly - "boab" (or "Adanosia Gregory", in honor of the Australian traveler-topographer Charles Augustus Gregory). By the way, this is the only type of baobab grown in Australia.
The baobab is a delicacy for elephants. African giants eat them almost entirely, and not only the leaves and branches, but also the trunk.
The baobab is one of the thickest trees in the world. The average trunk circumference of the baobab is 9-10 meters, while the height of the tree ranges from 18-25 meters, and the crown diameter reaches 40.
Baobabs are getting thicker and thicker every year. As surprising as it may sound, baobabs not only do not increase dramatically in size, but sometimes even become smaller. This is probably due to the consumption of water accumulated inside the trunk.
Baobab is an excellent cure for many diseases. Baobab pulp powder boosts immunity, lowers cholesterol, and reduces menstrual pain. Baobab is especially good for the skin - it not only improves its condition, but also nourishes the skin, relieves irritation, inflammation and restores the epidermis in case of a burn.
You can live in a baobab. There are cases when the hollow (from time to time) trunk of the baobab was used as a prison, bus stop or sleeping place. In some countries, adventurous residents set up shops and pubs in this huge African tree.