Tree growing upside downThese very characteristic trees can be found in the southern hemisphere of our globe. They are enormous and long-lived, and their huge trunks provide shelter, food and water for many animals. In recent years we have noted the death of many very old specimens, but it is still unknown what causes tree die-off.
1.There are 8 species of baobab trees.
Six of them are endemic to Madagascar, one grows in continental Africa and one in Australia.
2.Baobab species growing in Madagascar have more compact crowns and long, cylindrycal trunks compared to those growing in continental Africa.
3.Australian Baobab trees most likely appeared in Australia by long-distance seed dispersal from Africa.
Initially it has been thought that baobab trees grew on Australian soil a very long time ago and as a result of the breakup of the Gondwana continent 180 million years ago, the Australian and African populations split up with the drifting continents. However, due to the small differences between the two geographically distant species, it can be concluded that these trees arrived in Australia after Gondwana breakup.
4.The most common species of baobab tree is the African Baobab (Adansonia digitata).
This species grows up to 25 meters (82 feet) high and the trunk can reach a diameter of 10 to 14 meters (32 to 46 feet).
5.Baobabs are often called upside-down trees because of the root-like appearance of their tangled branches.
6.To survive the harsh weather conditions of drought, baobabs store water in their trunk.
Mature trees are able to store 120,000 liters of water.
7.In mature trees the leaves are palmately compound, but seedlings and regenerating shoots may have simple leaves.
Baobabs have stipules at the base of the leaves, but these are quickly shed in most species.
8.During the dry season, baobabs shed their leaves just as deciduous trees do in winter across the northern hemisphere.
9.Baobab flowers are showy, the calyx is made up of 5 petals and is up to 12 centimeters (4,7 inch) in diameter.
When fresh they can be white, creamy or light yellow in color, but they fade quickly and often turn dark red when dried.
10.Most baobab species are pollinated by bats or lemurs.
Others are pollinated by moths of the Sphingidae family.