Adansonia digitata (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Adansonia digitata L.

Family: Bombacaceae

Vernacular names

  • General: baobab.


Origin in tropical Africa. Occasionally cultivated in dry regions of the tropics. In South-East Asia cultivated in Java and in the Philippines.


All parts of this famous African tree can be used. In Java it is cultivated for its edible fruits and as a shade tree.


  • A thornless, deciduous, very peculiar tree, up to 18 m tall, trunk short, bulging, bottle-shaped.
  • Fruit an oblong or subclavate indehiscent capsule, 25-35 cm × 10-16 cm, woody, with pulpy, mildly acid sarcocarp.

Normally in dry savanna land. In Africa very large and old specimens occur (several thousand years old). Flowers open at night, pollination is effected by bats.

Selected sources

  • Backer, C.A. & Bakhuizen van den Brink, R.C., 1963 1968. Flora of Java. 3 Volumes. Noordhoff, Groningen, the Netherlands.
  • Corner, E.J.H., 1988. Wayside trees of Malaya. 3rd ed. 2 Volumes. The Malaysian Nature Society. United Selangor Press, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 774 pp.
  • Mansfeld, R. & Schultze Motel, J., 1986. Verzeichnis landwirtschaftlicher und gärtnerischer Kulturpflanzen. 2nd ed. 4 Volumes. Springer Verlag, Berlin. 1998 pp.
  • Wickens, G.E., 1982. The baobab, Africa's upside down tree. Kew Bulletin 37: 173 209.


P.C.M. Jansen, J. Jukema, L.P.A. Oyen, T.G. van Lingen