Adansonia digitata

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Adansonia digitata L.

alt=Description de l'image Baobab and elephant, Tanzania.jpg.
baobab en Tanzanie
Ordre Malvales
Famille Malvaceae
Genre Adansonia

2n =

Origine : Afrique tropicale

sauvage et cultivé

Français baobab
Anglais baobab

Résumé des usages
  • légume-feuille
  • racines et fleurs comestibles
  • pulpe du fruit consommée en desserts, boissons
  • graines consommées crues, grillées, ou comme substitut du café
  • huile des graines alimentaire
  • fibres de l'écorce intérieure et de l'écorce des racines
    utilisée pour des cordes, filets, paniers...
  • toutes les parties médicinales
  • fourrage : feuilles, fleurs, fruit, graines
  • bois léger utilisé pour des pirogues, flotteurs...
  • arbres au tronc creux utilisés pour stocker l'eau, ou comme tombe
  • pollen : colle de menuiserie
  • écorce tannante
  • colorant : écorce verte, racines
  • substitut du tabac : pédoncule, coque du fruit
  • arbre ornemental et symbolique


Noms populaires

français baobab, calebassier du Sénégal, arbre de mille ans (PROTA)
anglais baobab, monkey-bread tree, dead-rat tree, cream-of-tartar tree (PROTA)
portugais baobab, molambeira, imbondeiro, calabaceira, cabacevre (PROTA)
swahili mbuyu, mkuu hapingwa, mkuu hafungwa, muuyu (PROTA)


Adansonia digitata L. (1759) (Sp. pl. 1753, nom. inval.)




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. Sturtevant, Notes on edible plants, 1919.

  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.


  • Bekele-Tesemma, Azene, 2007. Useful trees and shrubs for Ethiopia. Identification, propagation and management for 17 agroclimatic zones. Nairobi, ICRAF - RELMA. 550 p. (Technical Manual 6). Voir l'article
  • Eyog Matig, O., Ndoye, O., Kengue, J. et Awono, A. Editeurs, 2006. Les Fruitiers Forestiers Comestibles du Cameroun. Rome, IPGRI, CIFOR, IRAD. XIV-204 p. Voir l'article
  • Lost Crops of Africa. Volume II: Vegetables, 2006. Washington, National Academies Press. 354 p. en ligne
  • Lost Crops of Africa. Volume III: Fruits, 2008. Washington, National Academies Press. 380 p. en ligne