Baobab trees have, in their possession, a number of interesting tales to narrate about itself. Read this Gardenerdy article further to know more about the interesting facts about this tree.
In High Spirits!
The baobab tree is associated with supernatural beliefs. Its flowers are known to be a haven for the spirits!
Have you ever wondered what might have existed a million years back on the face of the Earth, apart from the demonic dinosaurs? Well, owing to multiple studies, general belief holds that the Baobab tree, scientifically denominated as Adansonia, is one of the longest survivors that existed when the Earth had no boundaries or continents. Though, it is a herculean task to conclude about the origin of this tree, recent studies have presumed the native land of the tree to be in Africa, from where it has deciphered in multiple ways in other parts of the world; the methods, however, are subject to speculation.
Currently, the tree is found in most parts in Africa, Madagascar, Australia, in some parts of Arabia, and a few countries in Asia, which include Sri Lanka and India, thanks to their geographical conditions. But the numbers are very sparse unlike Africa.
Distribution Pattern of the Baobab on the Globe
|Sub-Saharan and Savanah zones||Kimberley region||Oman and Yemen||Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh||Mannar Island|
The following facts about the baobab will, for sure, take you by surprise!
Knowing the Baobab
- In all, there are eight different species of baobab tree that are known to man.
- Other interesting names of thebaobab tree include bottle tree, upside-down tree, monkey bread tree, monkey tamarind, cream-of-tartar, ape’s bread tree, lemonade tree, big tree, dead rat tree, and tree of life.
- On an average, the maximum height attained by these baobab desert trees is around 25-30 ft.
- According to a reading by the radiocarbon dating technique, the oldest living baobab tree is around 1,275 years old. Others say that the oldest baobab tree is around 3,000 years old.
- The Big Baobab Bar in South Africa, the world’s only pub situated inside a tree, was constructed by the Dutch owners of the Sunland Baobab Estate back in 1933. The cool interiors of the tree keep the beers cold, naturally.
- The Sa na Njema Women Group, Tanzania, has made the indigenous effort of making wine from the seeds of the baobab tree.
What Mythology Holds
- Some tribes believe that women who live in the vicinity of baobab trees, are more likely to bear more numbers of children, than those who live farther away. Though it used to be a myth earlier, doctors and scientists have confirmed that consumption of the baobab leaves improves the fertility rate in women.
- Some African tribes prefer washing their baby boys in the tree-soaked water, believing that the boy will also grow up to be mighty and stout, just like the baobab tree.
- Baobab, also known as the Kalpavriksha, is known to be a wish-fulfilling tree.
- According to Arabian and the African beliefs, baobab tree was thrown up into the atmosphere, and in the process, the roots of the tree reached Heaven and the branches remained on earth. Therefore, it attained the name “upside-down tree.” Arabs believe that the tree was thrown by the Satan, contrary to the Africans who believe it was thrown by the hyena.
- Locals also believe that consumption of water, wherein the baobab seeds were soaked, keeps the crocodiles at bay.
- Many also believe that the Gods were so angry with the ‘craving for more’ nature of the tree that they turned it upside-down, so that it will not be able to ask for more.
- Indian mythology suggests that when the demons and the Gods fought, there was churning in the sea, which resulted in the discovery of nine sacred gems from beneath the sea, one of which was the baobab.
- Tales narrate that in Zambia, there was a huge python, which sheltered itself in the hollow trunk of a baobab tree. The tribal worshiped it just like a divine deity. But when an English man killed it one fine day, devastating occurrences took place, and till date, people complain of hearing hissing sounds from the tree.
- Kondanamwali, in the Kafue National Park in Zambia, is known to be ‘the tree that eats maidens’. The tree was so much in love with four maidens who used to spend time under its shade that when they were planning for marriage, the baobab tree was taken aback with anger and envy. So, one night, the trunk opened up, and engulfed the girls within.
- In the past, the Africans held important discussions under the shade of the baobab tree, in order to remain cool and calm under its shade, and also believed that the wise ‘spirit’ of the tree would bless the men with its wisdom, thereby guiding them to take relevant decisions.
- There are tales saying that anyone who plucks the flowers of the baobab tree are killed and eaten by lions.
Some Offbeat Facts
- In primitive times, the trunk of baobab was used as prisons.
- The nomads of earlier times depended heavily on the tree to fulfill their water requirements.
- It is also a common feature to see that the water present inside the trunk of the tree is consumed by elephants.
- The tree remains leafless for almost nine months at a stretch.
- In order to sustain the adverse conditions of deserts, these trees store up large amounts of water within their massive trunks.
The Baobab Flower
- The flower of baobab is a serene white, which opens up its petals only during the night.
- It is often found that tamarind trees usually grow at the base of the baobab trees, such that the roots of the former are found entangled with the latter.
- The bark of the tree is tolerant to fire.
- The trunk of the tree is very wide, bulky, and hefty. Many scientists have proclaimed that the trunk size is highly disproportionate to the overall size of the tree.
- The bats are accounted to carry on the process of pollination of this gigantic tree. At times, bush babies also do the job.
The Baobab Fruit
- The fruit of baobab is consumed only when it is dry. This means that after shaking the fruit if there is a “rattling” sound, know that the fruit is ready to be eaten. This explains that the water or the moisture gets dried inside the fruit itself.
- The oil extracted from the fruit is also used in curing several ailments, and has good moisturizing capabilities.
- The products of the tree including the leaves and the fruits are edible by man and some animals.
- The powdery, tangy pulp of the fruit is believed to have higher contents of Vitamin C than the citrus fruits like oranges and even higher contents of calcium than milk.
- The seed’s dry fruit powder is also used in several ways, and the demand is on the rise. It is added to soups, while the pulp of the fruit is used in the making of soft drinks. The fruits are also boiled to obtain tea. The leaves are eaten as vegetables. The juice obtained is known as ‘bouye’ in Africa.
- The pollen seeds of the baobab have been put to use by making glue out of them.
- The bark is used to make fibers, ropes, nets, strings of musical instruments. No doubt, African music is so famous for its ‘string instruments’ like the banjo!