THE STORY OF THE BAOBAB TREE

The Baobab tree, native to Africa, Arabia, Australia and Madagascar, is known as the “tree of life” because it serves as a food source, a medicinal source, a reservoir of water, and of myriad other uses dating back centuries. In fact, the core-like bark and huge stem are fire resistant and often used for making cloth and rope. 


There are 9 species of Baobab trees. They can grow up to 98 feet tall and produce a large fruit that is enjoyed for its delicious citrus-like flavor. The tree is a succulent, which means that during the rainy season it absorbs and stores water in its vast trunk (up to 100 gallons), enabling it to produce a nutrient-dense fruit in the dry season when everything around it is dry. 


While the oldest Baobab trees are around 2,000 years old, some specimens found in Zimbabwe, the so-called Panke Baobab, date back 2,450 years. Interestingly, Baobab trees are good for the environment and ecosystem because they keep soil conditions humid and help prevent soil erosion. 


Ancient as they are, Baobab trees can be cultivated. Although they can take 15-20 years to bear fruit. Recent research indicates that by grafting the branches of fruiting trees to seedlings, they can bear fruit in as little as 5 yearsThe largest and most populous Baobab species, Grandidieri, is estimated to number more than a million trees, covering more than 10,000 square miles. 

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