A baobab it’s a tree. The term refers to members of the genus Adamsoniain turn belonging to the family group of the Bombacaceae.
Bombacaceae species such as the baobab are dicots (their embryos show two cotyledons or first leaves) and have alternate leaves with panicle or cluster flowers. Their seeds they are usually covered with pulp or wool.
- baobab species
- General characteristics
- Uses of the baobab
- His presence in the culture
Scientists recognize eight species of baobab. Seven of them are native to the African continent and the rest, from Australia. Among the Africans, six are in Madagascaran island nation characterized by its biodiversity.
Before proceeding, it is important to mention that the name of the gender Adamson comes from michel adansonthe French botanist who wrote about these plants in the thirteenth century.
The Adansonia digitata it is the best known baobab. It is an endemic tree of the south of the Sahara which can be found, among others sidesin the Kruger National Park of South Africa.
The rest of the baobabs that grow in Africa they do it in Madagascar. Are the Adansonia madagascariensisthe Adansonia zathe Adansonia suaresensisthe Adansonia rubrostipathe Adansonia perrieri and the Adansonia grandidieri.
As for the remaining species, its name is Adansonia gregorii. The great thickness of his trunk is its distinctive feature.
Although the features of the baobabs vary according to the species, some peculiarities can be mentioned for reference. Baobabs are generally about ten meters tall, with a thick trunk that looks similar to a bottle and long branches that develop horizontally.
These trees have the ability to store a large amount of Water. This allows them to grow and subsist in desert regions.
It is important to mention that baobabs are very long-lived and usually live for a 1,000 years. Specimens have even been found which, according to specialist estimates, lived close to 5,000 years.
Uses of the baobab
The fruit of the baobab, known as monkey bread either senegal squashis valued for its taste and its nutritional components since it has high levels of fiber, iron, calcium, potassium and vitamin C.
The pulp is used to make beverages. Also, after a drying process, it is ground and the powder is used for the preparation of ice creams, juices (juices) and sweets. The seeds, meanwhile, are used in biscuits and salads. As for the leaves, there are African peoples who use them in soups.
The manufacture of ropes and paper and the obtaining of oil are also possible with the baobabs, a tree venerated by different communities.
His presence in the culture
Baobabs appear in multiple cultural manifestations. The tree is the Madagascar national symbol and integrate the shield of Senegalfor instance.
An African legend tells that, due to their beauty, the baobabs received the gift of longevity from the gods. This made them arrogant and therefore they decided to grow excessively in defiance of the divinities.
Beyond Africathe baobab became world famous thanks to “The little Prince”. In the masterpiece of Antoine de Saint-Exupérythe main character considers these trees to be a weed since, growing so large, they are in a position to destroy his asteroid by root pressure.