Friday 4 March 2016

Grandidier’s Baobab

Image: Bernard Gagnon
Adansonia grandidieri
Is that tree doing a handstand?

Or... a twigstand?

Image: Bernard Gagnon
Grandidier’s Baobab is an enormous tree found only in the semi-arid, south-western region of Madagascar.

They're utterly enormous! Reaching as much as 30 metres (100 ft) tall. With their absurdly thick, smooth trunks they look like columns holding up the very sky itself.

Image: Frank Vassen
Their favourite habitat is dry forestland, particularly near to areas where rivers and lakes form during the rainy season. At this time they can absorb vast amounts of water to store in that mighty trunk, ready to sustain them for the dry months ahead,

From May to August, Grandidier’s Baobab drops all its leaves and devotes its efforts io producing flowers. They open around dusk and are pollinated by moths, bats and lemurs. It's Madagascar. You must have lemurs in there, somewhere!

Image: Rafael Medina
After that, it's time for the fruit. Great, big, ludicrously nutritious fruit with more potassium than bananas, more vitamin C than oranges, more calcium than milk and sufficient stature to simply crush blueberries beneath their superior weight of antioxidants. It's a superfood like no other!

People in Madagascar have long made great use of their Baobabs. The fruit can be eaten raw and cooking oil extracted from the seeds. The thick, fibrous bark can be used to make rope and the wood can be dried to make thatch.

Image: Olivier Lejade
Useful stuff! Which is nice and all but it still seems to me faintly sacrilegious to make ropes out of Grandidier’s Baobab. It's a column to the sky for goodness sake!


  1. This tree has got to be the most wonderful thing on earth. ...But I am fickle because I tend to think that about every new monstrosity you post.

  2. Haha! Now that's a problem I'm glad to provide you!