Adansonia digitata L.

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Adansonia digitata

Photo: Bart Wursten
Hot Springs

Adansonia digitata

Photo: Bart Wursten
Nyanyadzi, Save valley

Adansonia digitata

Photo: Bart Wursten
Between Hot Springs Resort and Odzi R.

Adansonia digitata

Photo: Bart Wursten
Between Hot Springs Resort and Odzi R.

Adansonia digitata

Photo: Bart Wursten
South of Kadoma

Adansonia digitata

Photo: Bart Wursten
By road in to Mana Pools

Adansonia digitata

Photo: Bart Wursten
Sugar Estates, Triangle

Adansonia digitata

Photo: Bart Wursten
Along road between Chipinda Pools Camp and turn-off to Masasanya Dam, Gonarezhou National Park.

Adansonia digitata

Photo: Mark Hyde
By main road from Birchenough Bridge to Mutare

Adansonia digitata

Photo: Mark Hyde
By main road from Birchenough Bridge to Mutare

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

Common names: Baobab (English) Mbuyu (Shona) Muuyu (Shona) Umkhomo (Ndebele)
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, palmate 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, more like a giant succulent. The large white flowers typically open a dusk, falling by the next afternoon. The most likely agents of pollination are large moths or bats. The dry white pulp surrounding the seeds is edible and rich in vitamin C. People strip the bark for fibre.
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
Image last updated: Sunday 11 March 2007

Burrows, J.E., Burrows, S.M., Lötter, M.C. & Schmidt, E. (2018). Trees and Shrubs Mozambique Publishing Print Matters (Pty), Cape Town. Page 585. (Includes a picture).

Chapano, C. & Mamuto, M. (2003). Plants of the Chimanimani District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 2.

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.

Setshogo, M.P. & Venter, F. (2003). Trees of Botswana: names and distribution SABONET Report No. 18 Southern African Botanical Diversity Network, Pretoria Page 6. (Includes a picture).

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 Malawi: Adansonia digitata
Flora of Mozambique: Adansonia digitata
Flora of Zambia: Adansonia digitata
Flora of Zambia: cultivated Adansonia digitata
Flora of Zimbabwe: Adansonia digitata

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Adansonia digitata
African Plant Database: Adansonia digitata
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Adansonia digitata
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Adansonia digitata
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Adansonia digitata
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
iNaturalist: Adansonia digitata
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Adansonia digitata
JSTOR Plant Science: Adansonia digitata
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Adansonia digitata
Plants of the World Online: Adansonia digitata
Tropicos: Adansonia digitata
Wikipedia: Adansonia digitata

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2002-24

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2024). Flora of Zimbabwe: Cultivated Plants: Species information: Adansonia digitata., retrieved 22 June 2024

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