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Learn more about the legendary baobabs in the Tarangire…

The morning is windy. The immense skies and surrounding landscape intoxicate in their quiet enormity. I am behind the wheels of a Land Cruiser in the Tarangire National Park.

On this day, I find myself in the company of a few acquaintances, battling the discomfort of the tsetse fly infested bush in the park (visitors to the park are advised to wear long-sleeved shirts at all times).

And then after a short drive in the park, we see the baobabs. The baobab tree is a common feature of the Tarangire National Park. Our guide tells us that in Madagascar and Senegal, there are special beliefs tied to baobas among the locals, while in northern Australia they attract tourists.

Interesting debate and disagreements ensue over the baobab tree, which is probably more controversial than all of the continent’s famous trees combined. Personally, I am awed by the enormous thick trunk that strides up from the earth; the bark that looks wrinkled like the skin of an elephant, and the branches with their long arms, extending to spiny fingers.

Old trees are covered in patches of leaves, while the younger ones are sparsely decorated. The fruit, bouille, dangles from the branches on long vines.

The baobab’s omnipresence, however, does not lessen the magic that each tree seems to hold.

The Baobabs tree

The Baobabs tree

Moments of reflection

I have had intimate moments of reflection, in my past visits here, close to these mighty trees. I have come close to finding great herds of wildlife. They are wondrous and they have touched me in a special way, and this visit is dedicated to get more insight into the kind of deep spiritual impact that an African experience has on the trees.

Our guide further tells us, the baobab is highly regarded by African people because of all of its parts that can be used in different ways. Besides being an important source of timber, the trunks are often hollowed out by people who use them for shelter, grain storage or as water reservoirs. The hollowed trunks also serve as burial sites. And some of the most important products come from the bark of the tree, which contains a fibre that is used to make fishnets, cords, sacks and clothing.

The bark can also be ground into a powder for flavouring food. The leaves were traditionally used for leavening, but are also used as a vegetable.

Its fruits and seeds are also edible for humans and animals. The pulp of the fruit, when dried and mixed with water, makes a drink that tastes similar to lemonade.

The seeds, which taste like cream of tartar and are a valuable source of vitamin C, were traditionally pounded into meal when other food was scarce. Other products such as soap, necklaces, glue, rubber, medicine and cloth can be produced from the various parts of the baobab tree.

Not only that.

The baobab tree serves as a meeting place for many people in African villages to discuss community matters, relate the news of the day, or tell stories. It is also considered to be an object of worship by the people of the African Savannah.

Religious beliefs and practices in Africa have played a role in raising the baobab tree to a level of sacredness. Its ability to survive long periods of time without water, its usefulness and its extremely long-life might be some possible reasons the people of the African Savannah have worshipped the baobab. One particular way the baobab tree has been used as a religious object is as a burial chamber.

In some parts of Africa, the bodies of certain important individuals are placed in a hollowed-out trunk of the baobab tree to symbolize the communion between the vital forces of the plant foods and the body of the dead. As we drive further into the park, I become dizzy with the choice of baobabs in front of me, each seeming bigger than the last while some sheltering different animals such as elephants, lions, zebras, wildebeest and so on.

I can still listen closely enough to hear the wind rustling through the tree’s thousands of lives. I imagine that it is the whispers of the living secrets of the park.

Then on our last sighting our guide drives us to the quieter parts of the park where one of the landmarks and a-must-see-area in the park is found – the poacher’s hideout, a hollow huge baobab tree named for obvious reasons.
Before the park was gazetted to become a national park in 1970, the area was popular among rhino hunters and poachers, we are told.


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The baobab powder, extracted from the Baobab, the king of trees

Everyone will agree that the baobab is a special tree with its massive trunk, unique shape – which according to legend is the result of God planting it upside down – and its powerful presence.

This king of trees seems to hold aeons of life-experience like a wizened old elephant matriarch or like a tall rugged mountain. It is one of nature’s cathedrals, offering shelter, food and relief from sickness. It is no wonder that this gargantuan deciduous tree holds a place in our hearts and has inspired myths and superstition.

It’s the stuff of legends – living to hundreds of years old; its hollow interior having served as a chapel, water reservoir, shop and place of refuge; its fibrous bark collapsing to the ground at the end of its life cycle; and its delicate and pendulous white flowers, centred with a soft brush of bright yellow pollen, blooming for only 24 hours before falling like confetti at a wedding. There are eight species of baobab: an African, six Madagascan and one Australian species.

Baobab - The king of trees

Baobab – The king of trees

The African baobab Andansonia digitata or Kremetartboom at it’s known in Afrikaans, occurs at low altitudes in hot, dry woodland in the continent’s more tropical regions, in well-drained stony soil. It has compound finger-like leaves composed in spirals of 5-7 leafl ets at the ends of single long stalks. Its greyish-brown unevenlyfolded trunk can be more than 20m in circumference although it is often not more than 15m high.

Waxy white flowers appear in spring or early summer. The buds start to open in the late afternoon, the flowers opening completely at sunset to be pollinated at night by fruit bats and several species of bushbaby. By the next afternoon they have wilted and fallen to the ground. The oval fruit has a hard woody shell and contains a powdery white pulp, rich in vitamin C and likened to cream of tartar. A drink made with the pulp has been used to treat fevers and diarrhoea and the powdered seeds are said to cure children’s hiccups.

The seeds are dispersed by large mammals like primates and elephants. Some of the superstitions surrounding the baobab include the belief that if you pick a baobab flower, you will be devoured by a lion as the blossoms are inhabited by spirits, that the water the seeds have been soaked in will act as protection against an attack by a crocodile (although sucking and eating the seeds will attract a crocodile), an infusion of the bark will make a man strong and that a baby boy should be washed in water in which the bark has been soaked. The great tree has a patchy distribution in the northern areas of the country.

Amongst Namibia’s better- known baobabs are those that cling tenaciously to the rocky edges of Epupa Falls, the impressive Holboom in the Nyae Nyae conservancy, the Dorslandboom on the way to Khaudum Game Reserve where the Dorsland trekkers are said to have camped in the late 1800s, ‘Tree 1063’ on Keibeb farm near Grootfontein and the Ombalantu baobab in Outapi.

The Ombalantu baobab is a heritage site with a long history. The hundreds-of-year old omukwa or baobab was once a place of refuge for the Ombalantu people who climbed into its centre and hid between its fibrous walls during tribal wars and cattle skirmishes. It was later used as a post-office and finally a chapel.

A lectern with a bible and several benches remain in the baobab’s centre and visitors to the Ombalantu Baobab Tree Campsite are welcome to sit in the living chapel. Baobabs demand reverence by virtue of their sheer size and age. They tower into the sky, crowned by birds’ nests and a fringe of green leaves or they stand stark and imposing on the arid land. Whatever the season, the king of trees cannot be ignored.

 


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Learn more about the Baobab tree in African landscape

The baobab tree (Adansonia digitata) is a common sight in Malawi’s varied and lush landscape. Standing sentinel, the trees seem ancient, immovable landmarks that connect the present with the past. Not necessarily beautiful, the trees look odd, even upside down, as their often bare limbs stretch out like a complicated root system. The bark is tough, steel gray with wrinkles like elephant hide. The trees grow to massive size and girth and virtually every tree has a unique silhouette and numerous scars that remain permanently ingrained in the bark. Baobab trees are the subjects of legends and spiritual stories, while scientists continue to try and better understand what makes them grow and thrive.
Humans have benefitted from baobabs for generations. Each part of the tree can be used for a wide range of products, such as fishing nets, cords and rope, mats, containers, cloth, hats, and shoes, and the bark has even been used for elephant saddles. The bark, wood, seeds, piths, and leaves offer great medicinal value and have been used in traditional medicine to cure asthma, dysentery, diarrhea, colic, eye infections, malaria, fatigue, fever, inflammation, ear aches, tumors, kidney and digestive problems, as well as open wounds. Because baobab trees are mostly hollow, people have also used the inside of the trees for all sorts of purposes, making them into shops, bars, stables, a dairy, a bus shelter, prisons, postboxes, burial sites, wells, and even a flush lavatory.

The Baobab tree in African landscape

The Baobab tree in African landscape

The baobab tree is synonymous with the African landscape. One can find the resilient baobabs surviving in even the most unforgiving landscapes: on rocky outcrops, high on mountains, and deep in deserts. Usually solitary, the trees survive droughts, aggressive elephants, and human contact. Despite their massive size and unusual shape, they rely on a system of hydraulic pressure to stay upright, as the porous wood retains water. The trees have extensive root systems that remain close to the surface. Remarkably immune to destruction, those trying to clear a tract of bushland in Tanzania after World War II used bulldozers, military tanks, and even tried dynamite, but failed to move the largest of the baobab trees.

The first recorded description of a baobab tree was written by Ibn Battuta. Born in 1304 in Tangiers, Battuta traveled throughout Africa and was fascinated by the unique specimen. From then on, travelers have remarked on the extraordinary size and strange form of the trees. David Livingstone’s companion, Thomas Baines, wrote that one tree in particular was “10 times the span of my extended arms, or perhaps, nearly 50 feet.” David Livingstone also recorded the circumference of several baobabs during his expeditions and even carved his initials into the trees along his routes. One can find traces of others doing the same, including the Green brothers, a pair of Canadian hunters who carved “Green’s Expedition 1858, 9″ into a baobab that is still standing in South Africa.

Scientists have not agreed upon an equation to determine a baobab’s age by its size. E.R. Swart published his study in 1963 that used carbon dating to determine that a baobab specimen with a radius of 2.28 meters was 1,010 years old. In Malawi, many say that for every meter of circumference, the tree is a hundred years old. The largest tree on record since scientists began a registry in the 1980′s, has a 25 meter circumference and is 33 meters tall. In South Africa, owners of a baobab tree claim that it is the largest in the world, with a circumference of 46.8 meters. While it is difficult to determine exact age without carbon dating, it is clear that these monolithic trees look and feel permanent. The Prussian explorer Friedrich von Humboldt described baobabs as the “oldest organic monuments of our planet.”
Baobabs are so much a fixture of the landscape that they were even used in the formal treaty that demarcated the border between Kenya and Tanganyika in 1900. The agreement reads that “on the high bank the boundary goes from the baobab at No 5 past a second baobab to a third baobab.”
With such a rich and varied landscape, it is easy to take these behemoth trees for granted. In Malawi, these trees are part of the history of the land, the culture of the people, and add to the beauty and mystery of the African panorama.


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Why is the Baobab a magical fruit?

Baobab is a magical fruit! The latest find in the superfood world – outdoing the amazing properties of even the goji berry – and is widely considered to be the king of all superfruits.
The baobab tree is native to Madagasgar, Australia and most famously, Africa where it is known as ‘the tree of life’. It is also referred to as dead-rat tree (from the appearance of the fruits), monkey-bread tree (the soft, dry fruit is edible), upside-down tree (the sparse branches resemble roots) and cream of tartar tree!
Baobab is rich in macronutrients, antioxidants, carotenoids, flavonoids, vitamins B2 & 3 and essential minerals. It contains twice as much calcium as milk, ten times the antioxidant level of oranges – as well as three times the vitamin C – and four times as much potassium as bananas. The seed and pulp are also excellent sources of magnesium, thiamin and phosphorous.
The baobab tree has iconic status in mythology. It has been claimed that baobab has been grown since the time of the Great Flood 4000 years ago, however, science dates them as having begun growing 1000 years ago. The bark of the tree is self regenerating and in some parts of Africa, babies are wash in stewed bark to give them strength.

Baobab is a magical fruit!

Baobab is a magical fruit!

Most parts of the tree can be used. The bark can be used to make rope and the trunk is hollow and can store thousands of gallons of water that can be extracted during drought. It also acts as a home to bats and snakes, and even humans. Famously, a district commissioner in Zambia once set up his office inside a baobab tree and a tree still standing in Western Australia was used to imprison Aboriginal convicts in the 1890s.
Baobab is a sticky powdery fruit encased in a hard outer shell. It has a taste similar to citrus and sherbert. In its native counties, baobab is used in a variety of ways, most often the seeds are roasted to make coffee and the fruit mixed with water to form lemonade or made into a jam that has a tart flavor, like lemon curd and a gritty texture like pear. The leaves can be eaten as relish or soup and the seeds used to produce edible oil which is also used in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries.
Baobab is not an easily edible fruit in its natural state. Along with the difficulty of shipping, this means that baobab is most often found in Europe already powdered, ready to be used as a superfood addition to smoothies and juices or as an ingredient in raw or cooked dishes.


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Baomix : the extraordinary benefits of the baobab fruit pulp

The baobab tree (Adansonia digitata L) is a member of the Bombacaceae family and a genus of eight species of tree. The baobab is widely distributed through the savannas and drier regions of Africa but it is also common in America, India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, China and Jamaica.

The generic name honours Michel Adanson, the French naturalist who described Adansonia for the first time. Digitata refers to the fingers of a hand, which the leaflets bring to mind.

Baomix production and Baobab fruit pulp health benefit

The tree is also commonly called the upside-down tree, bottle tree, and monkey-bread tree. The trees reach heights of 20 metres with a trunk 10 metres in diameter and branches 50 metres in diameter.

The baobab has long been an important source of human nutrition. Indigenous peoples traditionally use the leaves, bark, roots, fruit and seeds as foodstuffs, as well as in medicines for humans and animals.

Fruit harvesting and production process

Upon pollination by fruit bats, the tree produces large green or brownish fruits which are capsules and characteristically indehiscent (they don’t open to release fruit). The capsules contain a soft, whitish, powdery pulp and kidney-shaped seeds.

All baobab fruit used in our production comes from Senegal. The fruits are collected right in Senegal’s driest regions, under the supervision of expertly-qualified professionals. We focus our activity on abundant species of baobab, whose fruit can be collected with minimal environmental impact. Consequently, the fruits and seeds are the main parts of the plant that are collected, rather than the roots or bark of a particular species.

We use a simple, exclusively mechanical process to obtain the fruit pulp. After the fruit is harvested, the hard outer shell of the fruit is cracked open and the contents are removed. The seeds are then separated from the fibrous material and mesocarp. This is screened to remove further unwanted fibrous and flaky material, leaving a fine mesocarp powder (fruit pulp). Finally, the food grade powder is milled and packaged.

Baomix organic Baobab fruit pulp

Baomix organic Baobab fruit pulp

Vitamins and minerals

Baobab fruit is known for its high content of ascorbic acid (vitamin C); specifically, 100 g of wet pulp contains up to 300 mg of vitamin C, approximately six times more than the ascorbic acid content of one orange or lemon.

The fruit also contains other essential vitamins, such as vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin or PP).

In addition, the fruit contributes to the supply of other important dietary nutrients, such as minerals. 100 g of wet pulp contains about 300 mg of calcium, 3000 mg of potassium and 30 mg of phosphorus.

Serving instructions

Suggested intake — 5-15g per day. Use baobab as a perfect addition to your desserts and smoothies. It is also excellent for dipping fruit into to add a little bit of extra scrummyness.


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The Baobab, usually called the Tree of Life

The Baobab tree (known scientifically as Adansonia digitata) is often called the tree of life because it stores life-sustaining water inside its trunk and branches. In Africa, India, and Madagascar, where the tree grows in arid regions, the tree’s water is a valuable resource. The Baobab tree is an ancient survivor; some Baobab trees may live for several thousand years.

The phrase “tree of life” is rooted in religious history. The original tree of life was in the Garden of Eden, Jews and Christians believe. In the Torah and the Bible, cherubim angels guard the tree of life from humans who had fallen into sin: “After he [God] drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life” (Genesis 3:24). Jews believe that archangel Metatron now guards the tree of life in the spiritual realm.

Le baobab adansonia digitata africain

Le baobab adansonia digitata africain

Miraculous Water Help:

When nomadic people and wild animals (such as giraffes and elephants) can’t find enough water from their usual sources during a drought, they would be in danger of dying from dehydration if it weren’t for the Baobab tree, which stores the water they need to stay alive. People cut the tree’s branches or trunk to access drinking water that is miraculously available even during severe droughts. Animals chew on the Baobab tree’s branches to open them up, and then use the branches like straws to drink the water from inside the tree. Large Baobab trees may contain more than 30,000 gallons of water at once.

Healing Fruit:

Fruit from Baobab trees (sometimes called “monkey fruit” because baboons love to eat it) contains high concentrations of antioxidants, which protect the cells in people’s bodies from damage. Baobab fruit, which tastes like cream of tartar, features lots of the popular antioxidant vitamin C (which may help prevent cancer and heart disease). The mineral calcium (which helps keep bones strong) is also abundant in Baobab fruit. Other healing ingredients found in Baobab fruit include vitamin A, potassium, magnesium, and iron. People can also eat the fruit’s seeds and the leaves of the Baobab tree.


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Baobab’s are truly remarkable trees and are often referred to as: upside down trees, milk bottles, bottle-brushes, chamber pots, wine coolers, water buckets, teapots, giant scent-bottles, Grecian urns, and some even resemble misshapen carrots or radishes.

But make no mistake these exquisitely evolved beauties thrive in climates where people and other plants have a very hard time just making a living.

The Astounding Baobab

The Astounding Baobab

 

Description

Essentially, Baobab’s are massive canteens, storing enough water to tolerate many months of drought. Asbestos-like bark protects them from the heat of surface fires. And they sprout new shoots from their roots, and new roots from their trunk too.

In fact, apart from a single specimen of the Montezuma cypress at Tule in southern Mexico – Baobab’s have the largest circumference of any of the 80,000 different kinds of trees on the planet. Some big “bottle-brushes” can even attain a height equivalent to a 10-storey building.

There are eight species of Baobab: six in Madagascar, one in Australia and one in Africa. Baobabs are found in 31 countries in Africa including four specimens in South Africa known for their girths that exceed 100 feet.

In the absence of an annual tree ring it is difficult to exactly age these magnificent survivors. It is believed that they can reach almost 1,000 years.

Michel Adanson a French explorer and naturalist discovered the first Baobab in August of 1749 on the island of Sor in Senegal. He was amazed at the incredible properties of these awesome trees.

Composition

All eight species have different shaped seedpods ranging from long, curved African one to apple-shaped and egg-shaped ones in Madagascar.

The seedpods contain small black bean-like seeds and are delicious and nutritious raw or roasted. They are an alternative for coffee beans.

The white pulp, which protects the seeds, makes a sherbet-like or lemonade drink rich in vitamin C. The pulp can also be used in baking as a substitute for cream of tartar and it is also a potent medicine as a replacement for quinine (antimalarial drug).

Empty seedpods are made into cups, snuff boxes and used as fishing floats. When the seedpods are burnt, the ashes are used as an efficacious soap. In addition, the seedpods are an important food source for critters including half the world’s species of lemur in Madagascar and native species of squirrels.

The white flowers and pale green foliage are edible.

The bark can be harvested, without killing the tree, similar to Portuguese cork oak. Baobab bark can be pounded to make rope and bark clothing or flattened to make excellent roof tiles.

The flowers of African and Australian Baobab’s are white. The Madagascar species are scarlet. Three species of long-tubed hawk moths pollinate the pungent flowers. The other three Baobab species have rancid smelling flowers mimicking rotting carrion to attract bats as their pollinators. Flowering and hence pollinating only occurs at night in all eight species.

History

Baobab’s evolved about 15 million years ago, probably first on Madagascar. Thick-shelled, waterproofed seedpods floated east to Africa and west to Asia and finally to northwest Australia.

In the absence of lemurs in Australia, Baobab’s evolved a self-opening seedpod; a soft, thin shell that breaks when a two pound seedpod hits the ground.

African slaves brought Baobab seeds to the Caribbean island of St. Croix in the 17th century. Today there are over 100 splendid Baobab spread across the island. There is also a large, young specimen in the Fairchild Tropical garden in Miami.

A World Bank dam at Kariba, Zimbabwe drowned thousands of Baobabs. And tens of thousands of Baobabs were massacred in West Africa because they were host to insect pests which plagued the cocoa and cotton plantations. (The insects found new host plants and the absurd slaughter were deemed senseless).

Indigenous Peoples, fruit bats, baboons, hawk moths, honeybees, squirrels and elephants all need the Baobab. Elephants and baboons dump seeds in their dung, which acts as a fertilizer pack. In return Baobabs provide food, vitamins, medicine, water and shade.

Nature has a flawless blueprint and these wonderful trees and the ecosystems that depend upon them are very worthy of conservation efforts.


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Also known as the Giant Madagascar baobab (Adansonia grandidieri), or Grandidier’s baobab, this iconic tree once towered over Madagascar’s dramatic arid western landscapes but now exists in only five known locations.

Its thick, bottle-shaped trunks hold large amounts of water, an extremely valuable resource to people and wildlife living in the drier regions of this island nation.

The baobab reflects the uniqueness of Madagascar’s flora. All but one of the world’s eight baobab species survive here, and most are found nowhere else on the planet.

GIANT MADAGASCAR BAOBAB

GIANT MADAGASCAR BAOBAB

More information about the giant Baobab tree of Madagascar

Malagasy communities call this tree the “mother of the forest”, because of its edible fruits, oil-bearing seeds, and bark that can be made into rope. In many areas, certain believers consider individual baobabs sacred and make regular offerings. Like other large trees in habitats around the world, this baobab plays an essential role in the local ecosystem. While nocturnal bats pollinate most baobabs, this particular species is pollinated by nocturnal lemurs.

Its status as a resource provider and occasional sacred site has spared individual baobabs in areas where much of the original forests has been cleared. Scientists believe that in earlier times, baobabs grew in deciduous forests near to water. Today, however, they are scattered throughout degraded lands.

The baobab has difficulty reproducing in these unnatural conditions, which has resulted in a steadily aging population. Converting land for agricultural development has dramatically transformed, and in turn reduced, the baobab’s habitat. Competition from invasive species only worsens the situation, placing the species – and the abundant life it once supported – under threat.

Scientists expect habitat loss and climate change to cause many extinctions of plant species. CI-Madagascar is working closely with nongovernmental and government partners, as well as local communities, to address the country’s deforestation and land management issues.

In 2003, the Madagascar government committed to tripling the size of its current protected area network. By identifying sites, or Key Biodiversity Areas, where threatened species such as the baobab are known to exist, we are helping to ensure that protected areas include the most critical places for conservation.

Since the global conservation status of most plants have never been assessed, many species are likely to disappear before we know they exist. The majestic baobab, itself on the brink of extinction, stands as a symbol for those plants we may yet lose.


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The Baobabs are full of mystery and wonder in Africa, tales have been brought down verbally from generation to generation. We have tried to compile as much as possible regarding this great tree of life.

Legends of the Baobab Tree

Picture © 2004 J.F. Broekhuis

Focus on these legends

A very, very long time ago, some African legends say that the first baobab sprouted beside a small lake. As it grew taller and looked about it spied other trees, noting their colorful flowers, straight and handsome trunks, and large leaves. Then one day the wind died away leaving the water smooth as a mirror, and the tree finally got to see itself. The reflected image shocked it to its root hairs. Its own flowers lacked bright color, its leaves were tiny, it was grossly fat, and its bark resembled the wrinkled hide of an old elephant.

In a strongly worded invocation to the creator, the baobab complained about the bad deal it’d been given. This impertinence had no effect: Following a hasty reconsideration, the deity felt fully satisfied. Relishing the fact that some organisms were purposefully less than perfect, the creator demanded to know whether the baobab found the hippopotamus beautiful, or the hyena’s cry pleasant-and then retired in a huff behind the clouds.

But back on earth the barrel-chested whiner neither stopped peering at its reflection nor raising its voice in protest. Finally, an exasperated creator returned from the sky, seized the ingrate by the trunk, yanked it from the ground, turned it over, and replanted it upside down. And from that day since, the baobab has been unable to see its reflection or make complaint; for thousands of years it has worked strictly in silence, paying off its ancient transgression by doing good deeds for people. All across the African continent some variation on this story is told to explain why this species is so unusual and yet so helpful.


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Many cultures claim to remember a time when great and ancient trees cloaked vast areas of the earth. The enchanting original forests and foreboding gigantic trees were of mythical dimensions and proportions.

The Mythical Baobab

The Mythical Baobab

Learn more about the mythical Baobab

The African baobab is a living embodiment of timeless affinities with nature common to many peoples throughout the continent. It serves as a metaphoric window into Africa’s real or imagined past, through which we may view practices said to be of great antiquity.

Visitors to Sukur are warned not to approach a certain ancient baobab tree because, villagers say, it turns people into hermaphrodites.

Several myths that use the baobab as a backdrop for teaching moral lessons are told by the Bushmen or Hausa people of Northern Nigeria. One tale involving the baobab which is used to explain a phenomenon of nature as well as teach a moral lesson is the myth “The Tale of the Superman”. In this story a husband boasts to his wife that he is the strongest man alive. He learns of another man who claims to be “superman”, and goes to seek him out. This second “superman” is actually an extremely powerful superhuman who kicks up wind wherever he goes and eats men for dinner. While trying to escape from “superman”, the husband comes across the “Giant-of-the-Forest” sitting under a baobab tree. The giant offers to help the husband, and enters into a terrible fight with “superman”. In their struggle to free themselves from each other’s grasp, they leap to such a height they disappear into the heavens. As a result, their struggle can be heard as thunder.

The moral of the story is summed up by the wife who says, “Never boast about your achievements again. However strong or clever or rich or powerful you are, there is always somebody more so.