As the heaviest tree in Flower Dome weighing more than 32 tonnes, the African baobab is hard to miss!
Found in semi-arid Africa, African baobabs (Adansonia digitata) are known to store water in their swollen trunks and can grow to an enormous girth of 7 to 11 m in diameter and a height of 5 to 30 m in nature. They are commonly described as “upside down trees” for their chubby branches that resemble roots.
Known as the “Tree of Life”, fruits and seeds of the African baobab have been an important source of food for centuries. The fruit is known to be a health supplement for children, pregnant women and the elderly, and is said to help fight fevers and settle the stomach. Cooking oil can be extracted from the seeds and the fibres of the bark can be used to make rope and thatching for homes.
Flowering at night, the blooms are pollinated by nocturnal fruit bats, hawk moths and lemurs. Terrestrial mammals like baboons and elephants disperse its fruits by passing the seeds through their digestive tracts before germination.
Check out our collection of baobabs and bottle trees at The Baobabs in Flower Dome the next time you visit!
Written by: Agatha Koh, Manager (Education, Programming & Events)
Agatha has spent the last ten years in a green paradise of every kind – greenhouses, orchards, food forests, therapeutic gardens, nature parks. Her days at the Gardens continue to be happily plant-filled as she shares her love for plants with fellow green thumbs and floral fanatics!