Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Baobabs: eat the leaves, the fruit, use them for dye, fuel and fiber

Young Girl and Baobabs
Originally uploaded by Aaron B
Baobab is the common name of a genus containing eight species of trees, native to Madagascar, mainland Africa and Australia.

Other common names include boab, boaboa, bottle tree and monkey bread tree.

The species reach heights of between 10 - 80 ft tall, and up to 23ft in trunk diameter. They are noted for storing water inside the swollen trunk, with the capacity to store up to 32,000 US gallons, of water to endure the harsh drought conditions particular to each region.

- There is an important baobab tree in Kunta Kinte's village in The Gambia from Alex Haley's novel Roots: The Saga of an American Family.
- Rafiki, in The Lion King, makes his home in a baobab tree.

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