Adansonia digitata

A majestic, deciduous tree with a rounded or spreading crown and grey bark.
FLOWER COLOUR:  
AVERAGE SIZE (H) x (W): 20m x 30m
FLOWERING TIME:   J F M A M J J A S O N D
FRUITING TIME:   J F M A M J J A S O N D

Often called the upside down tree due to the fact that, without leaves, it looks like the tree has been uprooted and upended. This is a massive deciduous, succulent tree with a rounded or spreading crown.  It has a stout, grey trunk which is smooth and heavily folded.

It bears large, waxy white flowers which hang upside down.  The fruit is a large, oval pod covered in yellowish-grey velvety hairs.  It splits open to reveal cream-coloured, powdery capsules which coat the seed.  These seed capsules are delicious treats which I used to favor as a child.

This iconic tree commonly graces the landscapes of the Limpopo Province, the northern regions of KZN and the southern and western provinces of Zimbabwe.  The larger specimens are thousands of years old.

There are several notable “big trees” worth paying a visit to.  The infamous Victoria Falls (in Zimbabwe) Big Tree is a tourist attraction.  In South Africa, the Sagole Baobab located between Tsepise and the Kruger National Park Pafuri Gate has a trunk diameter of 10.47 meters.  It is well worth the small detour, and also provides the opportunity for birding as it is home to a flock of the rare Mottled spinetail.

ECOLOGICAL BENEFITS:
Provides nesting sites for birds.
Elephants strip the bark to get water and other nutrients.

NATURAL HABITAT & DISTRIBUTION:
Dry woodland.

GARDEN THEMES:


LANDSCAPING USES:
Suitable for large, frost-free areas.

FLOWERS:
The large waxy white flowers are approximately 20cm in diameter. They have an unpleasant smell. They are solitary, pendulous and have numerous stamens. The petals bruise easily and become brown.
FOLIAGE:
The leaves are alternate and digitately 3- to 9-foliolate with oblong leaflets 5-15cm long.

BARK:
The bark varies from pinkish-grey to coppery brown. It is smooth and heavily folded.

FRUIT:
An ovoid, 12cm long and pendulous, hard woody shell which is covered in yellowish-grey velvety hairs. It splits open to disperse the seeds.

SEED:
The dark brown, kidney-shaped seeds are coated with a creamy-white powdery pulp. This pulp contains large quantities of tartaric acid and potassium bitartrate.

FULL GALLERY:
WITH THANKS TO:
Treeshop for their input on tree images, www.treeshop.co.za