Adansonia digitata (Baobab, Up-side-down tree, Tree of life)

Looking like an up-side-down tree, each Baobab tree possesses enourmous girth. Some have been made into bus stops, a jail cell, or even a tavern. Barren of leaves for the entire dry season (typically 9 months long in South Africa), many tales surrounding Baobab trees emerged. Stories tried explaining how the tree was supposedly picked up and planted incorrectly. Their atypical appearance has made these valuable among nurseries in selective hardiness zones.

Adansonia digitata (Baobab, Up-side-down tree, Tree of life)
Deciduous: Yes, the leaves are only present for around 3 months every year.
Hardiness Zones: 10 only (native to South Africa)
Height: up to 25 meters tall
Diameter: The trunk grows up to 8 meters with 10 centimeter thick bark. These trees can have a maximum total girth of 20 meters
Growth Rate: relatively fast, primarily grows during wet seasons (usually only 3 months out of the year)
Age: Supposedly, some have survived for 3,000 years. However, records show the oldest to be roughly 1,300 years old.
Root System: expansive
Family: Bombacaceae
Subspecies: none

Tolerates: drought, heat, fire
Problems (major): Elephants will frequently break the outer bark to get the water stored inside, killing baobabs.
Problems (minor): Few, problems are primarily major.
Poisonous: The pulp contains tartaric acid.

Soil requirements: Prefers moist and well-drained, sandy soils but is very drought tolerant. Tolerates acidic soils.
Air requirements: Warm air (temperature) required year-round for survival.
Watering requirement: Regular watering improves growth; remember that these trees are accustomed to a wet-dry season climate.
Sun requirement: full sun

Needles: none
Cones (male): none
Cones (female): none
Leaves: Mature leaves can have up to 9 leaflets (5-7 leaflets are more common, however).
Flowers: The flowers are large (up to 20 centimeters across) and white with five petals and are pollinated by bats.Trees typically won’t flower until around 20 years of age.
Fruits: The fruits are large (up to 35 centimeters long by 13 wide) and hairy, with yellow-brown capsules. Plentiful seeds reside in the dry, whitish-pink pulp (which is has high concentrations of Vitamin C). The dark brown seeds, spherical with a diameter of 1 centimeter, have a red-black seed coat.The fruits and seeds are commonly eaten.
Seeds require stratification: no
Monoecious or Dioecious: not sufficiently researched

Notable characteristics:
Other than looking like an up-side-down tree most of the year, Baobab trees are very drought tolerant. They hold significant amounts of water in their enormous trunks, which is sometimes capitalized by passing elephants. Some mature trees have such a large girth that they have been made into taverns, bus stops, and prisons.

Commonly used to treat digestive problems, infections, skin ailments, and many other diseases. The bark is used for a wide variety of crafts, including basket weaving.

Sources used:


A Baobab almost entirely covered by its foliage (uploaded January 2011 by Muhammad Mahdi Karim (


An older, thick-barked tree (uploaded 24 June 2007 by Hans Helliwaert)


Foliage (uploaded 5 March 2009 by J. M. Garg)


A large, white flower with protruding stamens (uploaded 23 August 2005)


A large, singular fruit (uploaded on 7 May 2009)


A mature tree with foliage (uploaded 12 July 2012 by Udo Schmidt)


Several immature hanging fruits (uploaded 23 September 2004 by Marco Schmidt)


A mature flower with petals, stamens, and stigma visible (uploaded 28 May 2003 by Scott Zona)

I do not own the rights of these images; all credit goes to its original creator(s).



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