There are millions of types of trees all around the world; however none are like the deciduous trees of Madagascar and Australia. Only in these areas does such a unique tree grow.
Adansonia Gregorii, more commonly known as the Baobab tree, at least six out of the eight different species grow vastly in the luscious landscape of Madagascar. This tree is unlike any other. It has influenced myths and thousands of years of history, its appearance itself is unique, every part of this tree can be used.
Baobab trees look very differently than most trees. The trunks grow to be very thick or wide in diameter as well as grow upwards with a very large trunk. The branches expand in weird patterns in random bushy bunches. There is a legend that states that as they were planted they kept walking off so they had to be planted upside down. This is a great description in the sense that the typically do not have many branches off of them, and the branches extend almost straight up. With the bushels of leaves and fruit to look as if they are feet this old tale is quite humorous.
The most obvious use of this tree is the fruit that grow from it can be eaten. The Baobab tree dies out a little in the dry winter months then blossoms again in December through May. The native people use baobab fruit and leaves for multiple medical treatments. The fruit is said to be higher in vitamin C than a citrus fruit. The fruit of the Baobab tree is often marketed as the “super fruit”. The Baobab tree fruit is also high in antioxidants. The young sprouts of the true can be eaten like asparagus. The roots are said to be edible as well. The leaves of the Baobab Tree are used to treat asthma, diarrhea, fever, and even small pox. Wild life and livestock can feed off of the fallen flowers, leaves, and bark as well. The tree truly can provide food for all.
During dry spells the hallowed tree will serve as a water reservoir. This keeps many families provided with fresh water during the dryer seasons. The natives use glades of glass like straws to suck the reserved water from the trunk. There are also a couple famous prisoner trees. A Baobab tree hallowed out and used to hold prisoners while awaiting their sentencing. These trees can grow so large they can be used for houses or barns. They can be hallowed out and still continue to grow.
The bark of these large trees can be used in the construction of housing. Since the majority of the Madagascar population is very poor, access to these resourceful trees is a key in their survival. The natives use this tree in every way the possibly can to increase the quality of life. Right down to the seeds and the powder with in. The seeds from the tree are edible of course usually used as a coffee type drink, but the powder within them as been used as a way of painting. Sometimes the fruit themselves are carved for decoration.
The forests of Madagascar where the majority of the Baobab species grow are vast with these trees as well as animal and other plant life. A rain forest type setting with upside down trees to feed and house all that lives within it.
The Baobab tree is also a main attraction whether to Madagascar or Australia; thousands of visitors come every year to awe at the interesting view of these trees. To touch and taste the fruits it bears. The unique trees tall with bulbous trunks always have eyes gazing at them, adoring the beautiful white flowers that bloom from it. The Baobab tree is unique as the animals that live near it. Since Madagascar as lived in isolation for centuries a very high percentage of the wildlife is unique to only that area.
There is numerous reasons as to why this tree is called the magical baobab tree or the Tree of Life, for instance when this tree is cut all the way down or blown over in a storm it will simply re-sprout from the roots.
The fallen trees come with stories that they decompose quickly or spontaneously combust and completely burn up. This particular occurrence reassures many that this is a magical tree.
Magical or not this amazing species of tree has survived thousands of years and proves itself to be a vital resource for the native people, as well as an exquisite sight to see. Maybe the super fruit or the benefits of the Baobab leaves will work their way into modern medicine so we all can enjoy parts of the “Tree of Life”.
Categorised in: Amazing Plants
This post was written by Editorial Staff