Adansonia digitata

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Photographs by: Dr. Maulik Gadani

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  • Botanical Name : Adansonia digitata L.
  • The scientific name of the tree Adansonia is in honour of a French botanist Michael Adanson, while digitata indicates the finger-like shape of the leaflets.

  • Common Name : Rukhdo, Kalpavriksha, Gorakhamli, Baobab, Monkey-Bread Tree
  • Plant Family : Bombacaceae
  • Plant Form : Tree
  • Occurrence (Sectors) : 27, 28
  • Occurrence (Special Areas) : Gujarat Forestry Research Foundation, Ayurvedic Udyan, Van Chetana Kendra, Aranya Van

About Adansonia digitata Plant :

  • Habit : A tall, deciduoustree, with grey, smooth bark having trunk of very large dimensions at the base gradually becoming narrower at the apex.
  • Stem : Aerial, erect, branched, solid.
  • Leaves : Compound, digitate, deciduous, leaflets 3 - 7, entire, sessile or subsessile, obovate - oblong or elliptic - oblong, densely silky brown - hairy at length glabrous above, arising from a single point on the long stalk.
  • Inflorescence : Solitary Axillary.
  • Flowers :
    • Axillary, solitary, large pendulous, 10 - 12 cm across, flowers bloom at night and are pollinated by bats.
    • Epicalyx of 2 bracts.
    • Calyx ovoid, deeply 5 - fid, silky-hairy within.
    • Corolla of 5 large white petals.
    • Staminal tube dividing above into numerous 1- anthered filaments, anthers reniform. When the flower is in bloom, the purple anthers arising from the staminal bundles are prominently visible.
    • Ovary 5 - 10 celled, many-ovuled, densely hairy, style divided into as many as the number of cells in ovary.
  • Fruits : A long 20 - 25 cm long, gourd-like, ellipsoidal, pale-brown, densely hairy, woody amphisarca, with a long stalk which hangs from the branches. The cells filled with farinaceous acid pulp. The pulp is edible and is relished.
  • Seeds : reniform, blackish-brown, embedded in pulp.
  • Flowering and Fruiting time : April - May and June - Dec.
  • Significance :
    • The sweet pulp of the fruit is used in diarrhea, dysentery.
    • The pulp is rich in citric and tartaric acids, and used in cooling drinks. Monkeys are fond of eating the fruit, hence the common name 'monkey bread Tree'.
    • The tree is planted in gardens, but not in avenues or long roadsides due to its thick sized trunk. The soft trunk of the tree, when hollowed, provides large space.
    • The wood is used to make matchsticks and the tree fibre is used for making ropes, bags and strong paper.