Posts Tagged ‘Baobab Science and Research’

Find below articles

Measuring Baobab girth

Measuring Baobab girth

It feels a bit like when you mark off the height of your children on the doorpost, but every year in May Diana Mayne, a baobab colleague, and I visit Skelmwater Baobab research plot to do annual growth measurements. This research plot was started in 1931 to measure the annual diameter growth of baobabs. This year was […]

Miracle Tree!

Miracle Tree!

A few years ago I was called by a local farmer to see some baobabs that were very ill and dying.  There was a group of four baobabs, some of them were still standing and others had already collapsed in to a heap of fibre.  This tree was still standing, but was hot and ‘sweaty’ with […]

Monitoring with baobab harvesters

Monitoring with baobab harvesters

Last week I did my annual baobab fruit monitoring trip where I gather research information on a spcecific population of 40 baobab trees.  This year I am looking at how much fruit each tree produces each year and how that varies from season to season and between land use types.  Usually I have a field assistant whom I […]

Where did that baobab come from?

Where did that baobab come from?

There are 8 different species of Baobab trees 6 of which are native to Madagascar, one in Africa and one in Australia. There’s a lot of controversy about where the Baobab tree originated  as it’s often been assumed that Madagascar is the centre of origin because it has the most different species. This implies that […]

What’s in a name: Adansonia digitata

What’s in a name: Adansonia digitata

The latin name, Adansonia digitata, was given to the baobab by Carl Linneaus.  He named the baobab after the a French naturalist Michel Adanson.  Adanson was posted to Senegal in 1749 to research the natural resources of the area. He was blown away by his first sight of a baobab describing it as "a forest […]

What’s in a name: baobab

What’s in a name: baobab

Across Africa baobabs are known by many different names and we know that the fruit have been used for thousands of years. However, the first detailed botanical descriptions were made by Prospero Alpini, a 16th Century physician and botanist living in Venice who spent three years in Cairo. He first saw the fruit being sold in […]

The real truth about water in baobab trees

The real truth about water in baobab trees

  There’s a bit of a myth out there that you can tap water out of a baobab which is illustrated by this delightful cartoon. The truth is that a freshly felled baobab trunk weighs about 850kg per cubic meter.  Once dried out, it weighs 200kg per cubic meter.  This means that baobabs are able […]

Encounters with a family tree

Encounters with a family tree

When I was visiting friends in Cordoba, Argentina recently I came across this tree that looked so much like a baobab that I thought it must be some relation.  When I looked it up, I found it was indeed part of the same family as the Baobab Malvaceae. Its scientific name is Ceiba speciosa commonly […]

Brief Beauty

Brief Beauty

In contrast to the solid bulkiness of the tree, the Baobab’s flowers are delicate and fragile looking. The pendulous white flowers, centred with a soft brush of bright yellow pollen, bloom for just 24 hours before falling gracefully to the ground.  The waxy white flowers appear in spring or early summer. The buds start to […]

How fat are baobab trees?

How fat are baobab trees?

This week I did my annual trip to Skelmwater.  This is a baobab research plot situated near Musina long the N1.  Skelmwater was established in 1930 by the late Professor de Villiers of Stellenbosch University.  The aim was to measure the rate of growth of baobabs in their natural environment.   Despite the small number of […]

Featured in Forest Ecology and Management Journal

Featured in Forest Ecology and Management Journal

I'm really pleased to announce that my article on my scientific research findings regarding the sustainability of the Baobab Tree population has been recently published in the science journal Forest Ecology and Management.  This journal has a very rigorous selection process and acceptance is based on relevance, whether your article can demonstrate a genuine contribution […]

Baobab Fruitfulness

Baobab Fruitfulness

How old were your parents when you were born?  Not as old as the Baobab tree has to be before it's capable of bearing fruit. It can take a Baobab tree up to 200 years before it produces its first green-brown velvety pod-shaped fruit.  January is when Baobabs start to fruit and fruit production is highly variable between […]

AT WHAT AGE DO BAOBAB TREES START TO PRODUCE FRUIT?

AT WHAT AGE DO BAOBAB TREES START TO PRODUCE FRUIT?

Flower and fruit production usually only takes place once a tree is a certain size. Baobab tree growth is dependent on access to water. Where trees grow in high rainfall areas (+1000mls …per year) baobabs can reach maturity much more quickly than in arid areas. We have worked out that in Venda where rainfall is […]

HOW ANCIENT ARE BAOBAB TREES REALLY?

HOW ANCIENT ARE BAOBAB TREES REALLY?

I often get asked how old baobabs become. There is a lot of myth with most people believing that they live for up to 5000 years. I have been working with Dr Adrian Patrut, who has made it his mission to find the oldest baobab in the world. He has been at this for about […]

Interesting baobab tree roots

Interesting baobab tree roots

On my field trip a few weeks back we went into northern Venda which was very badly struck by the recent floods. Many roads were washed away and people's houses damaged. I came across this uprooted baobab. It was in a sandy area so when the floods washed around its roots it just toppled over! […]

How do I measure the height of a baobab?

How do I measure the height of a baobab?

Have just returned from a truly inspiring research trip on Quilalea Island where I studied and reported on 56 Baobab trees. One of the many measurements I do is to measure the height of a baobab. It's a question I'm often asked: how does a short person like me manage this?  Well, I don't climb the […]