Adansonia

Adansonia is a genus of eight species of tree, six native to Madagascar, one native to mainland Africa and the Arabian Peninsula and one to Australia. The mainland African species also occurs on Madagascar, but it is not a native of that island.

A typical common name is baobab. Other common names include boab, boaboa, tabaldi, bottle tree, upside-down tree, and monkey bread tree. The generic name honours Michel Adanson, the French naturalist and explorer who described A. digitata.


Adansonias reach heights of 5 to 30 m (16 to 98 ft) and have trunk diameters of 7 to 11 m (23 to 36 ft). Glencoe baobab – an African baobab specimen in Limpopo Province, South Africa, often considered the largest example alive – up to recent times had a circumference of 47 m (154 ft). Its diameter is estimated at about 15.9 m (52 ft). Recently the tree split up into two parts and it is possible that the stoutest tree now is Sunland baobab, also in South Africa. The diameter of this tree is 10.64 m (34.9 ft), with an approximate circumference of 33.4 m (110 ft).

Some baobabs are reputed to be many thousands of years old, which is difficult to verify, as the wood does not produce annual growth rings, though radiocarbon dating may be able to provide age data.

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