Scientific name 
Adansonia digitata

Family name

Local name(s)
Bamba, Fertata, Baobub (Amargna), Hermer banba, Kommer, Momret (Tigrigna), Baobab (English)

General description
The baobab is a deciduous tree with a thick trunk, diameter may reach 8m, girth 20m and height 25m. Bare for up to 9 months, the stiff bare branches resemble roots (hence the name 'up-side-down tree'). The bark is smooth, grey and up to 10cm thick, young spongy wood can hold much water. Baobab seedlings have simple leaves, mature leaves have up to 9 leaflets. The flowers are large and white in colour, opening at night. The unpleasant smelling nectar attracts pollinating fruit bats. The fruits are very big (15 - 22cm), hairy, yellow-brown capsules, hanging on long stalks on the bare tree. There are many seeds in the fruit, within white-pink, dry pulp.

Edible part(s), preparation methods and palatability
Fruits are edible. Everybody collects and eats the fruits. Shepherds mix the white powder-like inside of the fruit with fresh milk from their animals inside the fruit cover and drink it. The white-pink dry pulp contains tartaric acid.

Nutritional value
High vitamin C content compared to orange (approx. 57mg/100gr). A. digitata fruits contain 360mg/100gr vitamin C. The leaves have relatively high vitamin A content.

Found in lowland areas, e.g. the Tekeze River lowlands. The baobab tree is a conspicuous and well-known tree in tropical Africa south of the Sahara. In Ethiopia it grows best in lowland areas with moist and well-drained soils. It is deep rooted, drought and hardy, and prefers high water table (700m - 1,700m).

Propagation method(s)
Propagates by seedlings and cuttings.

Sample location(s)
Siska Kebele, Zequala Woreda (Wag Hamra)

Fruit shell can be used as a household utensil, i.e. container for liquids and food because of its durability, e.g. the shell is very hard to break. The baobab is one of the longest living trees - up to 3,000 years - and old trees have often traditional values and significances, and are usually used as communal meeting places. Where Baobab trees are common, every part of the tree is used. Hollow trunks can store large quantities of water. The soft wet wood is hard to carve and fire resistant. The inner bark of young trees is cut to extract strong durable fibers used for baskets and ropes. The bark regenerates and can be cut again in few years.

1 Parts of the following description have been taken from Bekele-Tesemma et al., 1993: p. 72/73

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Baobab 2.jpg (50434 bytes)
‘Baobab’ trees in the Tekeze River lowlands in Wag Hamra (Photos by Anna Barnett, Ethiopian Venture Project)