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What Is Baobab?

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  • Written By: Felicia Dye
  • Edited By: J.T. Gale
  • Last Modified Date: 24 August 2014
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A baobab is a deciduous tree that is native to Africa, and may also be found in Australia and India. It belongs to the Bombacaceae family. Many people believe that baobabs are one of the oldest living plant species on Earth. The tree is often described as looking as if it is growing upside down. This is because the crooked branches that grow on top of the tree are often said to look like a bunch of roots.

Baobabs are generally massive trees that usually do not have any branches on their trunk. There are eight recorded species of baobab trees. Six of these reportedly have been found growing in Madagascar. These trees can grow up to 82 feet (about 25 m) tall with a trunk circumference of up to 32.8 feet (about 10 m).

Baobabs are often considered to be impressive trees. There are a number of reasons for this. One reason is because these trees can thrive in hostile environments, such as those where there is a great deal of heat and little water. These trees can store large amounts of water in their trunks, which allow them to survive through droughts. Their water storage capacity can be hundreds of liters.

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A baobab can grow and survive in various types of soil, including ones that are poorly drained or alkaline. They also stay alive for a long time. It is believed that some of the trees that are found today are thousands of years old.

In many instances, a single baobab can be found growing alone with little to no amount of vegetation around it. The baobab is a fruit-producing tree. Its pod-like edible fruit is generally round or oval, and furry. The inner portion of the fruit has a mealy consistency and many seeds. Leaves are usually only present on the tree for about three months out of the year.

Another impressive aspect of the baobab is that basically every part of the tree can be used for something. The bark, for example, can be used to make paper, cloth, and rope. Leaves are often used for nourishment, but more importantly, they are used for native medicinal purposes. The fruit is often eaten and contains many nutrients such as vitamins C and B, and protein. Seeds are used to extract oil that can be used as cooking oil and for cosmetics products such as bath oils and lotions.

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