The Mysteries of the Baobab Tree
·It's a mysterious tree of many secrets and there are plenty of misconceptions about the baobab tree . We give you the science, the facts, and a little mystery!
Last updated 6 years ago
What’s in a name: Adansonia digitata The latin name, Adansonia digitata, was given to the baobab by Carl Linneaus. He named the baobab after the a French naturalist Michel Adanson. Adanson was posted to Senegal in 1749 to research the natural resources of the area. He was blown away by his first sight of a baobab describing it as "a forest in itself”. The specific name for this species is ‘digitata’ from the palmate shaped leaves which look like a hand with digits (fingers).
What’s in a name: baobab. Across Africa baobabs are known by many different names and we know that the fruit have been used for thousands of years. However, the first detailed botanical descriptions were made by Prospero Alpini, a 16th Century physician and botanist living in Venice who spent three years in Cairo. He first saw the fruit being sold in the Cairo Souks and came to know them as ‘bu hubab’, meaning “having many seeds” in Arabic. And hence the common name ‘baobab’
water in baobab trees
The real truth about water in baobabs: there’s a bit of a myth out there that you can tap water out of a baobab. The truth is that a freshly felled baobab trunk weighs about 850kg per cubic meter. Once dried out, it weighs 200kg per cubic meter. This means that baobabs are able to store 650 litres of water per cubic meter of tree. In other words the tree consists of 76% water which is a lot! But even though it has so much water, it is sadly not available for us to drink just like that.
palo borracho relation to baobab tree
This Palo borracho was taken in Cordoba, Argentina recently. Palo borracho means “drunken stick” in Spanish. It is thought that baobabs (before they were baobabs) originated in South America and hence their relations are found here. The palo borracho occurs in Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay and Brazil. Its trunk is bottle shaped, much like the baobab, but with swelling at the bottom of the trunk which makes it look like it may fall over, hence the name.
Where did that baobab come from? | Eco p...
There are 8 different species of Baobab trees 6 of which are native to Madagascar, one in Africa and one in Australia. There’s a lot of controversy about where the Baobab tree originated as it’s often been assumed that Madagascar is the centre of origin because it has the most different species. But in fact Africa is the most likely cradle of the Baobab tree!