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Adansonia digitata

Adansonia digitata L.

 

Baobab, Dead-rat Tree, Monkey-bread Tree, Upside-down Tree

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae (from Stearn’s Botanical Latin)
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassRosidaeRoses, legumes, proteas, dogwoods, hydrangeas, mistletoes, euphorbias, grapes, many more
OrderMalvalesIncludes cacao, balsa, lime, linden, basswood, daphnes, hibiscus, hollyhocks, okra, baobab, cotton, kapok, and many others
FamilyMalvaceaeIncludes okra, jute, cacao, hibiscus, many others
GenusAdansoniaNamed for French surgeon Michel Adanson
SpeciesdigitataMeans “hand-like,” because of the leaf shape

About plant names...

Baobabs are widespread in the non-desert regions of Africa, where their large size and distinctive shape makes them iconic against the grasslands in which they most commonly grow. Baobabs are also found in parts of Oman, Yemen, Asia, and India. They are not found in the wild in North America.

Identification: Baobabs are up to 82' (25 m) in height. They develop elephantine trunks that can reach an amazing 92' (28 m) in diameter. They are uneven, sometimes suggestive of rippling muscles, and tapering. The common name “upside-down tree” refers to the branches’ resemblance to roots, and a folk tale that God planted them upside-down. Bark is extremely thick, 1¾-4" (5-10 cm), gray-brown, usually smooth, though increasingly uneven with age. Flowers are large, white, up to 8" (20 cm) around, and pendulous. They smell like carrion, which attracts their chief pollinators, fruit bats. (If you’re wondering why fruit bats would be attracted to the smell of carrion, well ... so am I.) Fruits are egg-shaped capsules 4½" (12 cm) long, with woody outer shells.

Online References:

Adansonia digitata on the South African National Biodiversity Institute's web site, plantzafrica.com

Adansonia digitata on Tropicos®

Adansonia digitata on FLORIDATA

Adansonia digitata on Wikipedia

Adansonia digitata at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Adansonia digitata (Baobab, Dead-rat Tree, Monkey-bread Tree, Upside-down Tree)

3/24/2011 · Ntwetwe Pans, Gweta, Botswana · By Benjamin Winslow

Adansonia digitata description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 15 Oct 2013.

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Adansonia digitata (Baobab, Dead-rat Tree, Monkey-bread Tree, Upside-down Tree)

3/13/2011 · Ntwetwe Pans, Gweta, Botswana · By Benjamin Winslow

Adansonia digitata (Baobab, Dead-rat Tree, Monkey-bread Tree, Upside-down Tree)

This is “Chapman’s Baobab”—a famous specimen believed to be 4200 years old. · 3/14/2011 · Ntwetwe Pans, Gweta, Botswana · By Benjamin Winslow

Adansonia digitata (Baobab, Dead-rat Tree, Monkey-bread Tree, Upside-down Tree)

7/15/1999 · Buffalo Springs, Kenya · By Constance B. Kent

Adansonia digitata (Baobab, Dead-rat Tree, Monkey-bread Tree, Upside-down Tree)

3/13/2011 · Ntwetwe Pans, Gweta, Botswana · By Benjamin Winslow

Range: Zones 10b-11:

About this map...