The Baobab Tree

October 14th, 2007
by andyux
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The landscape in Malawi is beautiful; I just love the trees, all sizes and colors, with flowers… and the beautiful Baobab pictured here.

Mlambe is the Malawian vernacular term for the baboab tree. The Mlambe tree is indigenous to Africa and has a rich history and tradition in many societies across the continent.

One of the world’s longest (over 2000 years) living tree species, the Mlambe stands gigantically in the hot and dry savannas and has multiple uses. Every part of the tree has a beneficial use to the people! It does not only support people’s needs, it also supports a wide number of creatures such as insects, birds and small rodents – even larger animals have good stories too to tell! Others have dubbed it a complete ecosystem! The tree is also a traditional symbol of wisdom. Villagers come together to discuss matters affecting their communities including story telling under the Mlambe. Even community leaders preside over conflicts in the shade of this natural village court. Further still, in some societies the tree has been regarded as a deity thereby signifying holiness. The Mlambe is also well known for its resilience as it can stay for long periods under drought and still survive while other plants wilt.

The tree is so dear to Africa so much that in some countries it is a protected species while in others it has been declared a national symbol.

Wikipedia

Baobab is the common name of a genus (Adansonia) containing eight species of trees, native to Madagascar (the centre of diversity, with six species), mainland Africa and Australia (one species in each). The mainland African species also occurs on the island of Madagascar, but it is not a native of that country. Other common names include boab, boaboa, bottle tree and monkey bread tree. The species reach heights of between 5–25 m (exceptionally 30 m) tall, and up to 7 m (exceptionally 11 m) in trunk diameter. They are noted for storing water inside the swollen trunk, with the capacity to store up to 120,000 litres of water to endure the harsh drought conditions particular to each region [1]. All occur in seasonally arid areas, and are deciduous, shedding their leaves during the dry season. Some are reputed to be many thousands of years old, though as the wood does not produce annual growth rings, this is impossible to verify; few botanists give any credence to these claims of extreme age.

The Little Prince

Perhaps you will ask me, “Why are there no other drawing in this book as magnificent and impressive as this drawing of the baobabs?”

Baobab Tree

The reply is simple. I have tried. But with the others I have not been successful. When I made the drawing of the baobabs I was carried beyond myself by the inspiring force of urgent necessity.

Dedicated to the cause (AKA fanatic)

Baobab Tattoo

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