Baobab (Adansonia digitata)

Baobab plantThe baobab, also known as the dead-rat tree, monkey-bread tree, or upside-down tree, tree may grow as high as 18 meters (60 feet) and may have a trunk 9 meters (30 feet) in diameter. The tree has short, stubby branches and a gray, thick bark. Its leaves are compound and their segments are arranged like the palm of a hand. Its flowers, which are white and several centimeters across, hang from the higher branches. Its fruit, which can smell like a dead animal, is shaped like a football, measures up to 45 centimeters (18 inches) long, and is covered with short dense hair.  The Baobab lives for a very long time with some trees living over 1,000 years.

Where to FInd: These trees grow in savannas. They are found in Africa, in parts of Australia, and on the island of Madagascar.

BaobabEdible Parts: You can use the young leaves as a soup vegetable. The tender root of the young baobab tree is edible. The pulp and seeds of the fruit are also edible. Use one handful of pulp to about one cup of water for a refreshing drink. To obtain flour, roast the seeds, and then grind them.

Other Uses: Drinking a mixture of pulp and water will help cure diarrhea. Often the hollow trunks are good sources of fresh water. The bark can be cut into strips and pounded to obtain a strong fiber for making rope.


Baobab tree fruit cracked open

Baobab hanging flower

Baobab tree leaves

Large Baobab tree in Africa

Baobab tree fruit hanging from tree

New Baobab tree

Baobab tree

Baobab tree hanging from tree

Baobab tree flower

Baobab tree fruit

A grove of Baobab trees

Old Baobab tree

Baobab tree fruit

Baobab tree fruit

Old German drawing of Baobab tree components

Adansonia digitata (Baobab tree) drawing