Adansonia digitata L.

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Adansonia digitata

Photo: Bart Wursten
At junction of road no 1 and road no 3, Gorongosa National Park.

Adansonia digitata

Photo: Ton Rulkens
Pemba Bay, Cabo Delgado

Adansonia digitata

Photo: Ton Rulkens
Pemba Bay, Cabo Delgado

Adansonia digitata

Photo: Ton Rulkens
Pemba Bay, Cabo Delgado

Adansonia digitata

Photo: Ton Rulkens
Pemba Bay, Cabo Delgado

Adansonia digitata

Photo: Ton Rulkens
Pemba Bay, Cabo Delgado

Adansonia digitata

Photo: Sune Holt
Pambarra, Vilanculos Distr., Inhambane, Mozambique

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Species details: Click on each item to see an explanation of that item (Note: opens a new window)

Common names: Baobab (English) Himbondeiro (Sena) Mulambe (Sena)
Frequency: Common
Status: Native
Massive tree, not usually more than 20 m, but with a trunk up to 10 m in diameter. Stipules caducous. Leaves crowded at the ends of branches with a distinctive slightly unpleasant smell when crushed. Leaves (on very young plants) simple and sessile or 3-foliolate and petiolate (both types may be present together), entire or shallowly dentate. (See image no. 4). Leaves (on mature trees) 5-7-foliolate, palmate with petiole up to 12 cm. Leaflet lamina (mature trees) 5-15 × 3-7 cm, oblong-elliptic to obovate-elliptic, covered below when young with stellate hairs or glabrous. Flowers usually pendent. Petals 6(-10) × 7(-12) cm, white. Fruit up to c.25 × 12 cm, ovoid to oblong-cylindric, variable and sometimes irregular in shape, velvety-brown-tomentose. Seeds c.1.3 × 0.9 cm, many, reniform.
Notes: The tree is fibrous and non-woody, more like a giant succulent. The large white flowers typically open a dusk, falling by the next afternoon. The most likely agents of pollination are large moths or bats.
Derivation of specific name: digitata: having digitate leaves.
Habitat: In woodland in hot dry areas and coastal vegetation.
Altitude range: Up to 1200 m
Flowering time:Oct - Dec
Worldwide distribution: Tropical and sub-tropical Africa, parts of the Middle East and India.
Mozambique distribution: N,MS,GI,M
Growth form(s): Tree, shrub over 2 m.
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species
Content last updated: Sunday 16 December 2012

Burrows, J.E., Burrows, S.M., Lötter, M.C. & Schmidt, E. (2018). Trees and Shrubs Mozambique Publishing Print Matters (Pty), Cape Town. Page 585. (Includes a picture).

Coates Palgrave K. (revised and updated by Meg Coates Palgrave) (2002). Trees of Southern Africa 3rd edition. Struik, South Africa Pages 458 - 459. (Includes a picture).

Coates Palgrave, K. et al. (1956). Trees of Central Africa National Publications Trust, Salisbury. Pages 49 - 54. (Includes a picture).

Curtis, B.A. & Mannheimer, C.A. (2005). Tree Atlas of Namibia National Botanic Research Institute, Windhoek Pages 449 - 451. (Includes a picture).

Davies, H.F. (Undated). Alphabetical Catalogue of Plants growing in the gardens of Ewanrigg National Park, Arcturus. [Possibly not published (typed only)] Page 4.

Drummond, R.B. (1975). A list of trees, shrubs and woody climbers indigenous or naturalised in Rhodesia. Kirkia 10(1) Page 259.

Heath, A. & Heath, R. (2009). Field Guide to the Plants of Northern Botswana including the Okavango Delta Kew Publishing Page 352. (Includes a picture).

Kamumvuri, G. (ed.) (2004). Plants of Zimbabwe Report No. 1 National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Pages 4 - 5. Also on page 40. (Includes a picture).

Mapaura, A. & Timberlake, J. (eds) (2004). A checklist of Zimbabwean vascular plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 33 Sabonet, Pretoria and Harare Page 68.

Phiri, P.S.M. (2005). A Checklist of Zambian Vascular Plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 32 Page 84.

Roodt, V. (1998). Trees and Shrubs of the Okavango Delta Shell Field Guide Series: Part I Shell Oil Botswana, Gaberone. Pages 130 - 135. (Includes a picture).

Schmidt, E., Lötter, M. & McCleland, W. (2002). Trees and shrubs of Mpumalanga and Kruger National Park Jacana, Johannesburg, South Africa Pages 262 - 263. (Includes a picture).

Setshogo, M.P. (2005). Preliminary checklist of the plants of Botswana. Sabonet Report no. 37. Sabonet, Pretoria and Gaborone Page 40.

Setshogo, M.P. & Venter, F. (2003). Trees of Botswana: names and distribution SABONET Report No. 18 Southern African Botanical Diversity Network, Pretoria Page 6. (Includes a picture).

Steedman, E.C. (1933). Some Trees, Shrubs and Lianes of Southern Rhodesia. Pages 48 - 49.

Storrs, A.E.G. (1995). Know Your Trees Regional Soil Conservation Unit. Pages 87 - 88. (Includes a picture).

Timberlake, J.R. & Childes, S.L. (2004). Biodiversity of the Four Corners Area: Technical Reviews Volume Two (Chapter 5-15) Appendix 5-1: Plant Checklist Occasional Publications in Biodiversity 15 Page 201.

Van Wyk, B. & Van Wyk, P. (1997). Field Guide to Trees of Southern Africa. Struik, South Africa Pages 210 - 211. (Includes a picture).

White, F. (1962). Forest Flora of Northern Rhodesia Oxford Univ. Press. Page 243.

Wild, H. (1961). Bombacaceae Flora Zambesiaca 1(2) Pages 512 - 513.

Other sources of information about Adansonia digitata:

Our websites:

Flora of Botswana: Adansonia digitata
Flora of Caprivi: Adansonia digitata
Flora of Zambia: Adansonia digitata
Flora of Zambia: cultivated Adansonia digitata
Flora of Zimbabwe: Adansonia digitata
Flora of Zimbabwe: cultivated Adansonia digitata

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Adansonia digitata
African Plant Database: Adansonia digitata
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Adansonia digitata
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Adansonia digitata
ePIC (electronic Plant Information Center): Adansonia digitata
Flora Zambesiaca web site: Adansonia digitata
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Adansonia digitata
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
GRIN (Germplasm Resources Information Network): Adansonia digitata
iNaturalist: Adansonia digitata
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Adansonia digitata
JSTOR Plant Science: Adansonia digitata
Kew Herbarium catalogue: Adansonia digitata
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Adansonia digitata
Plants of the World Online: Adansonia digitata
The Plant List (version 1.1): Adansonia digitata
Tropicos: Adansonia digitata
Wikipedia: Adansonia digitata

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave 2007-20

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2020). Flora of Mozambique: Species information: Adansonia digitata., retrieved 19 January 2020

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