Tag: Baobab tree

2016 Aug: The Little BIG BAOBAB Book

Inspired by her PhD research on baobab trees, Dr Sarah Venter wanted to make the fascinating information usually available only in obscure scientific papers, available to a much broader audience including children. The Little BIG BAOBAB book is for everyone who loves baobab trees...

Dung Beetles and Baobabs

Baobab seeds are relatively large,but it's not an impossibility that that germinating Baobab seedlings could use the manure buried by dung beetles to boost the growth of its first few shoots!

Famous Baobabs: A Champion of Trees – The Sagole Baobab

Champion trees are nationally listed individual trees which are exceptional examples of their species because of their enormous size, great age, rarity or historical significance. One of the South African champion trees is the Sagole Baobab Tree, located in Vendaland, Limpopo Province, with a trunk diameter of 10.47 metres. It may not be the stoutest of baobab trees (The Sunland and Glencoe Baobabs have larger girths) but the Sagole tree has the largest size of all with a height of 22 metres and a crown diamter of 38.2 metres.  

The tree has been carbon dated as being 1200 years old! 

The Sagole tree is also noted for being home to a rare colony of Mottled Spinetails. Here are two of my own pictures of the Sagole Tree – showing it with and without leaves.  How magnificant it is! 

Film maker Greg Cameron: do less, do it better, make it matter more

Recently, Greg Cameron was commissioned by PhytoTrade to make a film on baobabs in which he records the stories of the baobab fruit collectors and how baobab fruit help them improve their lives. Here, Itai Chibiya, PhytoTrade's Monitoring and Research Evaluator is being filmed while being interviewed.   EcoProducts was chosen as the site for the interviews.  Sarah Venter, the owner of EcoProducts was also interviewed about how she works with the harvesters and ensures that the collection of the fruit benefits everybody in the supply chain and in particular the harvesters.  Sitting under one of the biggest baobabs in the village chatting to some of the baobab fruit collectors gave her an insight into what this special and talented man was all about.  He says “ do less, do it better and make it matter more”.   He now wants to fuse his knowledge with his passion to build socially conscious brands through integrated story.

Watch Greg's recent stunning works on the Baobab including one for EcoProducts   and one for Terres DÁFrique

Greg was also commissioned to film the Siemens COP 17 Baobab video – a brilliant 90 second video! 

There are 21 videos by Greg Cameron on Vimeo.  He is a freelance video producer and has done a wide variety of award-winning work from TV ad campaigns to brand promotions.  Do take a few minutes out of your day to watch his videos- he's a man to follow! 


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 in itself”. This description of the tree reached Linneaus while Adanson was still in Africa, However when Adanson retuned to Europe he opposed the name, suggesting it be named baobab from the earlier description made by Alpini.  But Linneaus would not change his mind and thus the genus continues to be known as Adansonia. 

The specific name for this species is ‘digitata’ from the palmate shaped leaves which look like a hand with digits (fingers).  

Source: Watson, 2007

Nothing goes to waste – it all goes back to Nature!

Absolutely nothing goes to waste when we make our baobab oil and powder.  We would potentially have three ‘waste’ products.  The first is the shell of the fruit, which is cracked open to remove the power and seed in the primary stage of processing.  The second is the seed coat, this is the very hard outer layer of the seed itself.  We remove this just before we extract the oil as it does not contain any oil.  The third is the seed cake, this is left over after we have pressed the seed.   The fruit shells are used as a fuel in our Donkey Boiler to make hot water for our staff to shower.  The baobab seed coats are used as mulch in our vegetable and flower gardens.  Lastly the seed cake is used by livestock farmers in the area as feed for their cattle and sheep.  Nothing is left after we've processed the baobab seed pods  – it all goes back to Nature. 

Look honey! I shrunk the baobab tree!

I  have never quite understood the appeal of bonsai, so I decided to see for myself what it was all about.  I visited Lampies Schoeman who has about 100 trees, surely one of the largest collection of baobab bonsai in the world!  He has grown and created most of his bonsai himself over the last 10 years.

I always thought those who grew bonsai were just strange nurserymen/women, but my time with Lampies made me realise they are in fact true artists. The careful shaping of the plant over many years to create a perfect miniature requires a huge amount of patience, vision and talent.   Looking at these bonsai with new eyes, I imaginedI was a giant walking in the bush with baobabs dotted around my feet.  It was quite a new perspective – for once looking down on a baobab tree!  The trees really do look exactly as they do in the wild but 1000 times smaller. They were Little Giants.   It made me wonder if this is how God felt when he turned the baobab tree upside down for being so belligerent! 🙂

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 trees. Some trees never produce fruit even though they flower every year. Some trees produce only a few fruit a year and others produce huge quantities. I have been monitoring baobab tree fruit production in Venda for 7 years. The record was 1200 fruit on one tree, but this was highly unusual. Mostly they average about 65 fruit per tree per year. EcoProducts only ever harvests fallen fruit to avoid harming the parent tree.