Adansonia,Adenium Adenocarpus. A-Z of Plant Genera Part 7

A look at the species.

Adansonia digitata, is where we commence, a tree which in its native form is found on the African continent and introduced to other countries, such as India and China.It is a tree of hot places such as dry Savannah's. It has several common names such as 'dead rat tree',' monkey bread tree' and ' Upside down tree'. The trees are often referred to as baobab.

The trunk of this tree is smooth,shiny,from reddish brown to grey. The bark tends to feel somewhat like cork. The trunks often have a swollen appearance.The branches are thick and wide. It produces large white flowers four to four and three quarter inches wide,and they open at night. The flowers consist of five petals, five sepals, stamens, multiple anthers and styles. They are hairy inside and have a leathery texture. Individual flowers last for a period of about twenty four hours. These pendulous showy flowers are pollinated by fruit bats.The trees are usually encountered as single specimens.

The leaves of this tree only occur for about three months of the year.Each leaf is composed of five leaflets.

The Cultivar--- Adansonia digitata. The cultivars are slow growing semi-evergreen rounded trees reaching a height of fifty feet or so,with a similar spread. They have palmate leaves of five to seven lustrous green leaflets.

The tree produces fragrant,pendent ,log-stalked white flowers with five reflexed petals during the spring. These are followed by edible sausage -shaped brown fruits. These trees require full sun and sharply drained soil,they are frost tender, so not recommended for cold or damp climates.

Adansonia grandidieri

This species often referred to as Grandidier's baobab, is the largest and most famous of Madagascar's six species of Baobabs. It is endemic to Madagascar where it is listed as an endangered species due to agricultural encroachment.It is named after the French Botanist and explorer Alfred Grandidier 1836-1921.

This species has a massive cylindrical trunk which may be up to three metres across. It can also attain the height of up to ninety eight feet. The crown of the tree tends to be flat-topped and the foliage is palmate of a bluish green colour. They also produce white flowers. They are in leaf from October to May and the flowers are produced between May and August. The succeeding fruits are ripe between November and December. The seeds contain a vitamin C. rich pulp which may be eaten in its fresh state.