Harking back to a prehistoric age, the long-lived baobab tree (Adansonia digitata) is a striking sight in the dry savannah. Its stout trunk can reach 14 meters in diameter, making it a pachycaul (pachy thick + caulis stem). This combined with the sparse, root-like branches gives the tree an “upside-down” appearance. African myths recount a god who angrily picked up the baobab and threw it back down to earth, implanting it root-side up. Native to Africa, this tree survives in arid regions with a very widespread root system; during a rare rain it collects massive amounts of water to be stored in the swollen trunk. A traditional food plant, the baobab has pulpy fruit used in a nutritious lemonade-like drink, and the young leaves can be cooked and eaten like spinach. As the baobab ages, its trunk may become hollow, providing space for shelter, chapels, or tombs. The interior of one tree in South Africa even served as a bar for gold miners in the 19th century. Estimations for the maximum age of this species are in dispute, but carbon-dating techniques have put trees at over 1000 years old.
USDA Zone range is 10a to 12
One kilogram ≈ 1700 seeds