Adansonia digitata L.

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Adansonia digitata

Drawing: Suzanne Carter

Adansonia digitata

Drawing: Suzanne Carter

Adansonia digitata

Drawing: Suzanne Carter

Adansonia digitata

Lusito; Dec 1973.
Photo: Mike Bingham

Adansonia digitata

Lusito; Sep 1972.
Photo: Mike Bingham

Adansonia digitata

Elephant damage; South Luangwa NP, Mfuwe; Sep 1973.
Photo: Mike Bingham

Adansonia digitata

Kafue Town; Nov 1972.
Photo: Mike Bingham

Adansonia digitata

Fruit; 1972.
Photo: Mike Bingham

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Species details: Click on each item to see an explanation of that item (Note: opens a new window)

Synonyms:
Common names: Baobab (English: Zambia) Ibbuyu (Tonga: Zambia) Mubuyu (Nyanja) Muuyu (Lenje) Muuyu (Lozi)
Description: Massive tree, not usually more than 20 m, but with a trunk up to 10 m in diameter. Stipules caducous. Leaves crowded at the ends of branches with a distinctive slightly unpleasant smell when crushed. Leaves (on very young plants) simple and sessile or 3-foliolate and petiolate (both types may be present together), entire or shallowly dentate. (See image no. 4). Leaves (on mature trees) 5-7-foliolate, digitate with petiole up to 12 cm. Leaflet lamina (mature trees) 5-15 × 3-7 cm, oblong-elliptic to obovate-elliptic, covered below when young with stellate hairs or glabrous. Flowers usually pendent. Petals 6(-10) × 7(-12) cm, white. Fruit up to c.25 × 12 cm, ovoid to oblong-cylindric, variable and sometimes irregular in shape, velvety-brown-tomentose. Seeds c.1.3 × 0.9 cm, many, reniform.
Notes: The tree is fibrous and non-woody, like a giant succulent. The large white flowers open at dusk, falling by the next afternoon. Pollination is by fruit bats. The dry white pulp surrounding the seeds is edible and rich in vitamin C. People strip the bark for fibre. In South Luangwa National Park elephant strip the bark.
Derivation of specific name: digitata: having digitate leaves.
Flowering time:Oct - Dec
Worldwide distribution: Tropical and sub-tropical Africa, parts of the Middle East and India.
Growth form(s): Tree, shrub over 2 m.
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species
Content last updated: Wednesday 11 June 2014
Literature:

Coates Palgrave K. (revised and updated by Meg Coates Palgrave) (2002). Trees of Southern Africa 3rd edition. Struik, South Africa Pages 458 - 459. (Includes a picture).

Coates Palgrave, K. et al. (1956). Trees of Central Africa National Publications Trust, Salisbury. Pages 49 - 54. (Includes a picture).

Curtis, B.A. & Mannheimer, C.A. (2005). Tree Atlas of Namibia National Botanic Research Institute, Windhoek Pages 449 - 451. (Includes a picture).

Davies, H.F. (Undated). Alphabetical Catalogue of Plants growing in the gardens of Ewanrigg National Park, Arcturus. [Possibly not published (typed only)] Page 4.

Drummond, R.B. (1975). A list of trees, shrubs and woody climbers indigenous or naturalised in Rhodesia. Kirkia 10(1) Page 259.

Heath, A. & Heath, R. (2009). Field Guide to the Plants of Northern Botswana including the Okavango Delta Kew Publishing Page 352. (Includes a picture).

Kamumvuri, G. (ed.) (2004). Plants of Zimbabwe Report No. 1 National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Pages 4 - 5. Also on page 40. (Includes a picture).

Mapaura, A. & Timberlake, J. (eds) (2004). A checklist of Zimbabwean vascular plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 33 Sabonet, Pretoria and Harare Page 68.

Phiri, P.S.M. (2005). A Checklist of Zambian Vascular Plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 32 Page 84.

Roodt, V. (1998). Trees and Shrubs of the Okavango Delta Shell Field Guide Series: Part I Shell Oil Botswana, Gaberone. Pages 130 - 135. (Includes a picture).

Schmidt, E., Lötter, M. & McCleland, W. (2002). Trees and shrubs of Mpumalanga and Kruger National Park Jacana, Johannesburg, South Africa Pages 262 - 263. (Includes a picture).

Setshogo, M.P. (2005). Preliminary checklist of the plants of Botswana. Sabonet Report no. 37. Sabonet, Pretoria and Gaborone Page 40.

Steedman, E.C. (1933). Some Trees, Shrubs and Lianes of Southern Rhodesia. Pages 48 - 49.

Storrs, A.E.G. (1995). Know Your Trees Regional Soil Conservation Unit. Pages 87 - 88. (Includes a picture).

Timberlake, J.R. & Childes, S.L. (2004). Biodiversity of the Four Corners Area: Technical Reviews Volume Two (Chapter 5-15) Appendix 5-1: Plant Checklist Occasional Publications in Biodiversity 15 Page 201.

Van Wyk, B. & Van Wyk, P. (1997). Field Guide to Trees of Southern Africa. Struik, South Africa Pages 210 - 211. (Includes a picture).

White, F. (1962). Forest Flora of Northern Rhodesia Oxford Univ. Press. Page 243.

Wild, H. (1961). Bombacaceae Flora Zambesiaca 1(2) Pages 512 - 513.

Other sources of information about Adansonia digitata:

Our websites:

Flora of Botswana: Adansonia digitata
Flora of Caprivi: Adansonia digitata
Flora of Mozambique: Adansonia digitata
Flora of Zambia: Adansonia digitata
Flora of Zimbabwe: Adansonia digitata
Flora of Zimbabwe: cultivated Adansonia digitata

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Adansonia digitata
African Plant Database: Adansonia digitata
Biodiversity Explorer (Biodiversity of southern Africa): Adansonia digitata
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Adansonia digitata
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Adansonia digitata
ePIC (electronic Plant Information Center): Adansonia digitata
Flora Zambesiaca web site: Adansonia digitata
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Adansonia digitata
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
GRIN (Germplasm Resources Information Network): Adansonia digitata
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Adansonia digitata
Ispot Southern Africa: Adansonia digitata
JSTOR Plant Science: Adansonia digitata
Kew Herbarium catalogue: Adansonia digitata
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Adansonia digitata
The Plant List (version 1.1): Adansonia digitata
Tropicos: Adansonia digitata


Copyright: Mike Bingham, Annette Willemen, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Mark Hyde, 2011-18

Bingham, M.G., Willemen, A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. and Hyde, M.A. (2018). Flora of Zambia: Cultivated Plants: Species information: Adansonia digitata.
https://www.zambiaflora.com/cult/species.php?species_id=139770, retrieved 19 April 2018

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