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baobab Tree

Trees of Namibia

Another tree with an upside down appearance is the Baobab tree. It is a large, deciduous tree that can grow up to 25m in height, with a bare, unusually thick, short stem with a widely spreading, rather sparse, roundish crown. The stems are grey-brown to red-brown, smooth and are often deeply fluted and dented and the many branches of the Baobab do spread, which taper rapidly to the tips. Large (12cm) flowers appear around October/November, with snow-white, waxy, crumpled petals, and a central column consisting of fused stamens through which the style protrude and hang upside down.

Hard, large, fruits, contain large numbers of seeds that are embedded in a very light, floury pulp, which can make a refreshing drink. Fruits are also eaten by primates and elephants help themselves to the leaves and stems. The seeds are dark brown, hard and smooth and ripen in the months of April and May.

Wood from the Baobab is generally very soft, light, spongy and fibrous, and pale brown in colour. These qualities make the wood worthless, except for paper production. Some of the trees are hollow, but the bulbs at the root terminals are dried and ground and used to make porridge. Recent research suggest that a tree with a girth of 30m may be over 4,000 years old.

Trees of Namibia

  • Windhoek: Windhoek Market
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