The Nine Species of the Baobab Tree

Crooked, upside down and yet showing off its unique beauty, the baobab tree has been in existence for thousands of years.

The Tree-of-Life inhabits places across the globe in some of the harshest environments.

The baobab trees separate into nine different species and below we shall take a closer look at each one while exploring some interesting facts.

African Baobab Trees

Adansonia Digitata (African Baobab)

Adansonia Digitata (African Baobab)

Contrary to popular belief, the baobab tree is not solely an African tree. There are nine different species of baobab trees spread out across three continents, and six of these species happen to be found in Africa.

The most common of this species is the Adansonia digitata, better known as the African baobab, which grows in various parts of Africa including Yemen, Oman and Ghana. These trees grow up to 25m tall and 12m wide.

Their vibrant flowers are yellow-white in colour and exude a beautiful carrion scent. Many consider the tree’s fruit a superfruit rich in various nutrients.

Adansonia kilima (Montane African Baobab)

Adansonia kilima (Montane African Baobab)

Adansonia kilima is a species of baobab tree native to Africa, described in 2012. As with other baobabs, it is easily recognised by the swollen base of its trunk, which forms a massive caudex, giving the tree a bottle-like appearance.

It is similar in appearance to the well-known Adansonia digitata. Adansonia kilima is found in upland populations of southern and eastern Africa, where A. digitata also occurs.

It has a restricted geographic range compared to A. digitata though, is diploid, and therefore presumably ancestral to the tetraploid A. digitata.

Adansonia Grandidieri (Grandidier’s Baobab)

Adansonia Grandidieri (Grandidier’s Baobab)

The tree is named after French botanist Alfred Grandidier and is one of the six baobab species that is native to Madagascar. The Grandidier is however considered endangered by the IUCN.

It is one of the popular species found native to the island, and its unique branches can tower as high as 30m into the sky.

This particular baobab tree has a smooth red grey bark that makes the tree a favourite for artists and photographers.

Adansonia Madagascariensis (Madagascar Baobab)

Adansonia Madagascariensis (Madagascar Baobab)

Unlike the other baobab trees, the Madagascar baobab often grows in dry or moist deciduous forests instead of the typical savannah grassland.

While it grows in damper areas, the Madagascar baobab still grows to 5-20m in height and stands out from the other trees in the forest with its smooth, wide trunks and dark red flowers.

Adansonia Perrieri (Perrier’s Baobab)

Adansonia Perrieri (Perrier’s Baobab)

The Perrier is regarded as endangered by the IUCN as most of its habitat has been lost to development and agriculture.

Due to this, it is one of the rarest species in Madagascar with only over a dozen trees documented. The tree is only found in Madagascar in the northern port of Antsiranana.

Adansonia Rubrostipa (Fony Baobab)

Adansonia Rubrostipa (Fony Baobab)

This Adansonia Rubrostipa makes up Madagascar smallest species growing to about 4-5m tall.

The Fony has a unique bottle-shaped trunk that has a constriction below the upper spread of its branches. On those branches, the flowers vary from yellow to bright orange hues.

Adansonia Suarezensis (Suarez Baobab)

Adansonia Suarezensis (Suarez Baobab)

This white flowered baobab tree is also native to the Madagascar northern island. However, it’s listed as endangered by IUCN.

Nicknamed Diego’s baobab, the Suarez baobab is named after Portuguese navigator Diego Soares, who visited the natural harbour in Antsiranana back in 1543.

Adansonia Za (Za Baobab)

Adansonia Za (Za Baobab)

The most common baobab species in Madagascar, unfortunately, it is still threatened by habitat loss. The tree’s fruit is black, and the seeds contain about 11% oil.

The flowers are red and yellow and exude a musty sweet scent. Its unique name, Za, derives from the native Malagasy word for tree.

Australian Baobab Tree

Adansonia Gregorii (Boab)

Adansonia Gregorii (Boab)

The boab, also known as the Australian baobab, is the only baobab species found in Australia.

While it doesn’t grow as tall as the trees native to Africa, it shares other characteristics including thick, wide water storing trunks.

Most of the Boabs are native to the Western Australia Kimberley region and others grow in the arid parts of the country’s northern regions.

References

http://www.uq.edu.au/nuq/jack/Taxon%20new%20GPS.pdf




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