The Baobabs of Madagascar
Imposing and poetic trees, baobabs bring legends to life. The sight of this majestic tree instantly feeds everyone's imagination and curiosity.
According to a local legend, the "Zanahary" found the baobabs a little too proud and to punish them, they replanted them upside down. Madagascar was still favored by the gods because it is the big island that holds the greatest number of species. On the 08 existing species, 06 are endemic. Besides, this is the only place in the world where you can find baobab forests.
Baobab, Etymologically ... bottle tree, its name comes from the Arabic word "BU HIBAB" which means "fruit with abundant seeds". In the local language they are called Zà, Zabe, Zamena, Zahamena, Ringy, Hazobetroka, Betroka, Renala or Reniala refer to its very small crown and the cylindrical shape of the trunk..
The spongy interior has a thick, reddish bark with a fibrous space containing an impressive amount of water. The Baobab can reach a height of 6 to 30 meters depending on the species. The leaves are present only 3 month in the year, in the rainy season and followed by a blooming period. These flowers then give large berries having a round or ovoid shape.. The fruits are approximately 10 cm.
It is an ever-growing tree that can live beyond two thousand years. The Adansonia digitata, native of Africa, offers fairly large foliage like Adansonia gibbosa from Australia, a small species rarely reaching ten meters. The other six, endemic to Madagascar are : the Adansonia madagascariensis, Adansonia Zà, the Adansonia grandidieri (which is the most common in Madagascar) considered the most admirable of all bottle trees, Adansonia suarenzensis and Adansonia perrieri (endangered, isolated in a small territory in the north of the country) ; and finally the Adansonia rubrostipa (when), the smallest species, at most four to five meters high.
Baobabs are in danger, because of the intense deforestation that the big island is experiencing globally. Clearing, and of course, bushfires are also threats. From an ecological point of view, collecting the fruits and seeds of the tree prevents its conservation. Besides, pollinating animals such as lemurs and bats are also scarce. Ex-situ conservation remains a major asset for the survival of these so emblematic trees of the great Island..