Morondava in Madagascar, the skyline in Senegal and Kruger national park all have something in common. These places are home to some of the largest trees in the world – baobabs, known to live for thousands of years. These amazing trees have trunks that can reach 30m in circumference or more. In Togo, there is a proverb: “Wisdom is like a baobab tree: no one individual can embrace it.” In many African cultures, the tree is sacred.
There are nine species of baobab in the world, and Madagascar, one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots, is home to six. The African mainland and the Arabian peninsula have two, and Australia has one. Africa’s most notable species is the Adansonia digitata, named after the French botanist Michel Adanson, who undertook an 18th-century exploration of Senegal. He stayed there for five years and contributed to the publication of 1757’s Natural History of Senegal.