The Baobab, Africa’s Tree Of Life

The Baobab tree is indigenous to Africa. Its scientific name is Adansonia digitata. Other species of Adansonia trees are found in Madagascar, Austrailia, and the Arab Peninsula. Some of these trees are thought to be over 2000 years old, with the oldest recorded specimen being almost 2500 years old. I had a chance to visit some in Tanzania during the dry season, after they had already shed their leaves. The look of the bare trees is almost alien-like.

1: The trunk of this particular specimen is particularly wide. Because they are so large, the trunks can store a massive amount of water to carry the tree through droughts.

2: Some wildebeest lounge under this baobab. Baobabs leaves, fruit, and seeds are used for sustenance for both humans and animals alike.

3: The branches of this baobab are curiously symmetrical.

4-5: Zebra lounge under these baobab trees. I noticed that these trees are a particularly popular spot for animals to congregate.

Alarmingly, some of the oldest baobab trees have been dying off.  This is attributed to disease as well as rising temperatures and drought.  Their fate over the long term is not known.

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