Baobab – the tree of life
For centuries, the people of Africa have turned to the baobab tree as a source of natural wellbeing and general health.
The Baobab is an impressive tree: With a height of up to 25 meters, the branches form a roof with more than 20 meters in diameter – the tree itself may be several thousand years old. The hand-shaped leaves and the gray, smooth bark can be seen as easily as the outline of a baobab from afar.
The Baobab is native to the African savannah. Its name derives from the Arabic word “bu hibab” from – fruit with many seeds. Of up to 15 meters high base consists of spongy fibers that store a lot of water and the tree as well as a longer drying time to keep it alive. The strong root system also contributes to its amazing drought resistance.
The symbol of the African Savannah
Because of its size and geographic dispersal the Baobab is probably the most impressive symbol of the African savannah. The special wood -properties protect the tree from fire and make it simultaneously a coveted natural water storage. Many villages in Africa have a Baobab, where small cisterns can be created in the hollowed trunk. In such areas the tradition often prohibits to cut down a baobab.
The tree begins to bloom for the first time at the age of 20 years. It flowers throughout the year, regardless of weather conditions. The fruits of the tree develop about five to six months after flowering. These ovoid fruits have a hard wooden shell, which is covered by green and yellow hair. Inside the fruit are several seeds, which are in a powdery white flesh.
The Tree of Life
The Baobab is very important for humans and animals in the arid regions of Africa. Many animals feed on its leaves, flowers and fruits. People can make food, clothing, medicines and other useful products from it. The voluminous and often hollowed trunk also provides protection from severe weather or other hazards of the savannah. Such hollow stems arise both natural and man-made.
In spite of a hollowed trunk the tree keeps on growing and it continuously bears fruits.