Adansonia digitata

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Adansonia digitata

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Order [[]]
Family [[]]
Genus Adansonia

2n =

Origin : area of origin

wild or cultivated

Uses summary


Popular names





BAOBAB. CORK TREE. MONKEYBREAD. SOUR GOURD. East Indies. This tree has been found in Senegal and Abyssinia, as well as on the west coast of Africa, extending to Angola and thence across the country to Lake Ngami. It is cultivated in many of the warm parts of the world. Mollien[1], in his Travels, states that to the negroes, the Baobab is perhaps the most valuable of vegetables. Its leaves are used for leaven and its bark for cordage and thread. In Senegal, the negroes use the pounded bark and the leaves as we do pepper and salt. Hooker[2] says the leaves are eaten with other food and are considered cooling and useful in restraining excessive perspiration. The fruit is much used by the natives of Sierra Leone. It contains a farinaceous pulp full of seeds, which tastes like gingerbread and has a pleasant acid flavor[3]. Brandis[4] says it is used for preparing an acid beverage. Monteiro[5] says the leaves are good to eat boiled as a vegetable and the seeds are, in Angola, pounded and made into meal for food in times of scarcity; the substance in which they are imbedded is also edible but strongly and agreeably acid.

The earliest description of the Baobab is by Cadamosto, 1454, who found at the mouth of the Senegal, trunks whose circumference he estimated at 112 feet. Perrottet says he has seen these trees 32 feet in diameter and only 70 to 85 feet high.

  1. Drury, H. Useful Pls. Ind. 15. 1858.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Sabine, J. Trans. Hort. Soc. Lond. 5:444. 1824.
  4. Brandis, D. Forest Fl. 30. 1874.
  5. Monteiro, J. J. Angola, River Congo 1:128. 1875.
Sturtevant, Notes on edible plants, 1919.