Adansonia digitata L.
Baobab, dead-rat tree, monkey-bread tree, upside-down tree
Baobabs are widespread in the non-desert regions of Africa, where their large size and distinctive shape makes them iconic against the grasslands in which they most commonly grow. Baobabs are also found in parts of Oman, Yemen, Asia, and India. They are not found in the wild in North America.
Identification: Baobabs are up to 82' (25 m) in height. They develop elephantine trunks that can reach an amazing 92' (28 m) in diameter. They are uneven, sometimes suggestive of rippling muscles, and tapering. The common name “upside-down tree” refers to the branches’ resemblance to roots, and a folk tale that God planted them upside-down. Bark is extremely thick, 1¾-4" (5-10 cm), gray-brown, usually smooth, though increasingly uneven with age. Flowers are large, white, up to 8" (20 cm) around, and pendulous. They smell like carrion, which attracts their chief pollinators, fruit bats. (If you’re wondering why fruit bats would be attracted to the smell of carrion, well ... so am I.) Fruits are egg-shaped capsules 4½" (12 cm) long, with woody outer shells.
Adansonia digitata on the South African National Biodiversity Institute's web site, plantzafrica.com
Adansonia digitata on Tropicos®
Adansonia digitata on floridata.com
Adansonia digitata on Wikipedia
Adansonia digitata at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Adansonia digitata description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 25 May 2020.
Range: Zones 10b-11: