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The Baobab Tree of Zimbabwe

Updated on March 19, 2012

To the glory of God and nature

The baobab tree of Zimbabwe is surely a gift from God to nature. I will proceed to tell you a bit about it and some of the African folklore surrounding it.

This happens to be my favourite tree. To many people this is a very ugly tree, but to me it is beautiful.

Having lived in a coastal setting for the last few years, I now find that I am missing some of the trees that I used to see back when I was living in Zimbabwe.

The Baobab was not a part of my daily living as where I lived, the conditions were too rich for its characteristics. However when I used to travel to more arid parts of the country, I always used to look forward to my first sight of this unusual tree and the enormous pleasure it always gave me. A truly splendid example of nature at its best. I will do my best to try to explain this in this lens.

Unusual?

Unusual?
Unusual?

It's Upside Down

The reasoning is from this myth

In Africa amongst many of the tribal people who live within the proximity of this magnificent tree, there is a common myth about it's origins.

It is as old as time and there is no way of substantiating it as it has been handed down as folklore and there is no written record. So either you believe it or you don't.

Personally, I find it quaint and can imagine it told as a story to quell children's fears when they heard the terrible sound of the Hyena's cackle.

Legend has it that God gave the Hyena the job of planting the baobab. However the Hyena is a coward, lazy and not to bright, consequently it planted it back to front. Or roots in the air.

I have heard this story told often and following it's telling, is always accompanied by great mirth.

The Silly Hyena

The Silly Hyena
The Silly Hyena
Elephant
Elephant

The Fruit

Elephants love it

Elephants love the fruit and are often seen looking for it, if you get so lucky as to be in an area where they still roam freely.

The indigenous people also use it as a vegetable to spice up their main staple diet. In Zimbabwe if you are driving towards Beit Bridge you will often come across children trying to sell the fruit to augment their living.

I often used to stop and buy it, not that I enjoyed the taste. It was too dry for me but principally because I wanted the seed to try and plant in my own garden at home. Sadly no matter how many times I did it they never took. Most likely because it had too much moisture in the soil.

They really are splendid trees and can be very large depending on their age. They are not really tall but mostly squat which makes people think of them as ugly. Furthermore, in almost all them they have a hollow in the base. Believe it or not the entrance to this is surprisingly similar to the door of a house and in days of yore you could sleep your family in them no problem.

Moreover, at the top of the tree ( where the branches begin to root out), there is another hollow and you can often find rainwater stored in there. So not only could you have a place for your family to sleep but you could provide them with water as well, in very arid areas and depending on the season even some fruit to eat.

Fruit Opened

Fruit Opened
Fruit Opened

Postscript

What are your thoughts

Well there you have it. I'm left wondering what your thoughts are on this most unusual tree?.

I wonder how many times it brought people refuge and perhaps saved their lives eons ago?. I wonder if any of you have ever seen the tree?. I wonder if it still provides refuge to lost souls?. I wonder if it will survive climate change?.

Please feel free to join in the duel and also any comments you might wish to leave.

Thanking you in anticipation.

In all it's splendour

In all it's splendour
In all it's splendour

THE BAOBAB

Well what is your opinion

Pictures courtesy of Flickr

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Thank You - Interesting tree

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    • Spook LM profile image
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      Spook LM 3 years ago

      @favored: Thank you and I'm fine thanks.

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 3 years ago from USA

      Came to visit. Miss seeing you around the neighborhood. It's been a long time. Hope you are well.

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      ConvenientCalendar 4 years ago

      Great lens!

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 4 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Just wanted to stop by and thank you again for choosing Friends of the Park as your designated charity. This month our payment donation from Squidoo was $121.10 bringing our total Squidoo donations to $4,856.50. We will have to have a party when we reach $5,000. Thanks so much!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      A truly hideous ugly tree. Look up the oak tree in Safety Harbor, Florida for a magnificent and majestic oak. Now which is the most attractive?

      The USA has it all.

    • LynetteBell profile image

      LynetteBell 5 years ago from Christchurch, New Zealand

      The Baobab fruit can also be used as a base for Cream of Tartar. I love the tree as I'm from Rhodesia/Zimbabwe!

    • indigomoth profile image

      indigomoth 5 years ago from New Zealand

      I miss the taste of baobab fruit.

    • greenspirit profile image

      poppy mercer 5 years ago from London

      Lovely Baobab...wasn't it a Baobab in 'The Little Prince' by Antoine de Saint-Exupery?

    • pheonix76 profile image

      pheonix76 5 years ago from WNY

      This is an amazing species -- thanks for sharing!

    • profile image

      JoshK47 5 years ago

      Popping back around to bless these fascinating trees!

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 5 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Just popping back in to read about The Baobab Tree again. Thanks.

    • Franksterk profile image

      Frankie Kangas 5 years ago from California

      Back to bless this lens (now that I can) about one of my favorite trees. Bear hugs, Frankster

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Incredible lens and very purple star worthy. Blessed.

    • Spook LM profile image
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      Spook LM 5 years ago

      @anonymous: With grateful thanks.

    • Spook LM profile image
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      Spook LM 5 years ago

      @MillBucks: And thank you for the visit and comment.

    • Spook LM profile image
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      Spook LM 5 years ago

      @anonymous: And so it is.

    • Spook LM profile image
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      Spook LM 5 years ago

      @TTMall: Pleasure.

    • MillBucks profile image

      MillBucks 5 years ago

      Amazing trees, thanks for putting this article together!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      very unique looking tree.

    • TTMall profile image

      TTMall 5 years ago

      Great lens subject! Thanks for sharing!

    • Spook LM profile image
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      Spook LM 5 years ago

      @rob-hemphill: Thanks for the laugh and they sure do.

    • Spook LM profile image
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      Spook LM 5 years ago

      @Charlino99: Thank you and it's very hard not to like.

    • rob-hemphill profile image

      Rob Hemphill 5 years ago from Ireland

      Always loved the majestic Baobab trees - a real sign of Africa. At least they offer a bit more resistance to elephant scratching!

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 5 years ago

      Hi! I come back to Pin, spread Angel dust in your way... and say

      Happy, funny, healthy Saint Patrick Day

      Regards

      Michey

    • Charlino99 profile image

      Tonie Cook 5 years ago from USA

      Some things are meant to be, and I like the beautiful Baobab tree.

    • Spook LM profile image
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      Spook LM 5 years ago

      @Rangoon House: Well said and agree with you.

    • Spook LM profile image
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      Spook LM 5 years ago

      @CCGAL: Mind? I'm delighted and thank you so much.

    • Spook LM profile image
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      Spook LM 5 years ago

      @BTOReilly: They sure are.

    • Spook LM profile image
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      Spook LM 5 years ago

      @PastorCher: It is my pleasure and thank you for your visit and comment.

    • Spook LM profile image
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      Spook LM 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Magic and thank you.

    • Spook LM profile image
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      Spook LM 5 years ago

      @Lady Lorelei: That's wonderful news and thank you.

    • Spook LM profile image
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      Spook LM 5 years ago

      @Vallygems1: You're welcome and thank you too for your visit and comment.

    • Spook LM profile image
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      Spook LM 5 years ago

      @fugeecat lm: Great folklore is it not?

    • Spook LM profile image
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      Spook LM 5 years ago

      @rangiiria: And so it is.

    • Spook LM profile image
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      Spook LM 5 years ago

      @howtocurecancer: Delighted to hear that and thank you.

    • Rangoon House profile image

      AJ 5 years ago from Australia

      Love the Baobab and cannot imagine Africa without them.

    • CCGAL profile image

      CCGAL 5 years ago

      I think this is an interesting tree, and I like the story of the Hyena planting it upside down. Nice job. Oops ... looks like I dropped some angel dust here ... hope you don't mind. **smile**

    • BTOReilly profile image

      BTOReilly 5 years ago

      These trees are pretty amazing in what they do.

    • PastorCher profile image

      Pastor Cher 5 years ago from United States

      Thank you for sharing yet another wonder of the world.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      To the glory of God and nature"......my angel dust wore off from almost a year ago...bringing a refreshing....

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 5 years ago from Canada

      My first sprinkling of angel dust on this lens has long worn off so I am back once again to scatter a little more. It is my quest today to bless all the lenses which I blessed in October of 2010. You are on this list.

    • Vallygems1 profile image

      Vallygems1 5 years ago

      Great lens thanks

    • fugeecat lm profile image

      fugeecat lm 5 years ago

      I never knew the story about the hyena and the tree.

    • rangiiria profile image

      rangiiria 5 years ago

      This is such a majestic tree. And it also supplies water - amazing

    • howtocurecancer profile image

      howtocurecancer 5 years ago

      Blessed by a SquidAngel.

    • Spook LM profile image
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      Spook LM 5 years ago

      @Ram Ramakrishnan: I used to love Stuart Cloete as well. Long time since I last read one of his books. Thank you for your visit and comment.

    • Ram Ramakrishnan profile image

      Ram Ramakrishnan 5 years ago

      Never seen a baobab, yet it feels so familiar as it has been described so vividly in one of my favourite books "The Curve and the Tusk" by Stuart Cloete, set in Mozambique. Your lens made me reminisce that story once again with pleasure. Thank you.

    • Spook LM profile image
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      Spook LM 5 years ago

      @bechand: Speaking of tree houses, there is one somewhere in South Africa which is a pub overlooking a waterhole to watch the game drinking.

    • Spook LM profile image
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      Spook LM 5 years ago

      @pawpaw911: Delighted to hear that and thanks for the visit.

    • Spook LM profile image
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      Spook LM 5 years ago

      @NoobWriter LM: There sure are.

    • Spook LM profile image
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      Spook LM 5 years ago

      @anonymous: And the same to you.

    • Spook LM profile image
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      Spook LM 5 years ago

      @LouiseKirkpatrick: Thank you and delighted with that.

    • Spook LM profile image
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      Spook LM 5 years ago

      @thesuccess2: Stranger things have happened.

    • Spook LM profile image
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      Spook LM 5 years ago

      @Virginia Allain: Have only just found that out, amazing.

    • Spook LM profile image
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      Spook LM 5 years ago

      @WhiteOak50: Delighted to hear that and thank you.

    • Spook LM profile image
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      Spook LM 5 years ago

      @cbessa: Thank you.

    • Spook LM profile image
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      Spook LM 5 years ago

      @NAIZA LM: Thank you and it sure is.

    • Spook LM profile image
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      Spook LM 5 years ago

      @gypsyman27 lm: Many thanks for the visit and it sure is some tree.

    • Spook LM profile image
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      Spook LM 5 years ago

      @donnetted: Pleased to hear that.

    • bechand profile image

      bechand 5 years ago

      When I was 11 my Dad went to Zimbabwe on a missionary trip for 6 weeks - he mentioned these odd trees. I love them - I would plant one here in my backyard if it would grow ... Looks like a great place for a tree house !

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      pawpaw911 5 years ago

      Very interesting. I learned some new things today.

    • NoobWriter LM profile image

      NoobWriter LM 6 years ago

      Thank you for creating this lens, it shows everyone that there are such small wonders in world.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      So wonderful lens of you.. Kevin :) You're very very well deserved purple star award. I'm honored to you and happy to be here. Have a wonderful time.. always :)

    • LouiseKirkpatrick profile image

      LouiseKirkpatrick 6 years ago from Berkshire, United Kingdom

      I think it's a rather majestic looking tree! A very interesting and informative lens - blessed by this Squid Angel as part of the "Back To School Bus Trip"!

    • thesuccess2 profile image

      thesuccess2 6 years ago

      This lens has really taken roots 150 likes!

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 6 years ago from Central Florida

      What a fantastic looking tree! There's a similar tree in Australia and it always amazed me to see one in the outback.

    • WhiteOak50 profile image

      WhiteOak50 6 years ago

      After finally catching up with the Angel School Bus, I am fluttering around Legends & Folklore-ville to drop off some Blessings. Just wanted you to know I am here because your page caught my attention. Leaving you with a *Blessing* for doing such a great job on this page.

    • cbessa profile image

      cbessa 6 years ago

      Hey, spook. What's up?

      Just featured this lens on my Top 5 lenses from my Squidoo Neighbours.

      Great job on it, by the way!

      See you around.

    • NAIZA LM profile image

      NAIZA LM 6 years ago

      What a magnificent tree. Terrific lens with loads of information about Baobab. :)

    • gypsyman27 lm profile image

      gypsyman27 lm 6 years ago

      Very interesting tree, and so hauntingly beautiful. As I said earlier, it would make a good sketch. Very good work Spook, I just was stopping by to say hello. See you around the galaxy...

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      Donnette Davis 6 years ago from South Africa

      I recall living in Wankie as a child, and there were a number of really beautiful and old trees in thevicinity between Wankie and Vic Falls and Wankie and Bulawayo... this brings back long forgotten memories of my childhood :)

    • Spook LM profile image
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      Spook LM 6 years ago

      @CruiseReady: Many thanks for your visit and comment. A truly, unique tree.

    • Spook LM profile image
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      Spook LM 6 years ago

      @JoshK47: It really is different and unique and thank you. As is a lot of Africa.

    • CruiseReady profile image

      CruiseReady 6 years ago from East Central Florida

      REallyinteresting - especiallly the part about the hollow trunk of the boabab with the doorway.

    • profile image

      JoshK47 6 years ago

      I've always loved the look of these trees - a very different look than the trees most people are used to. Then again, that could be said of much of the African flora and fauna!

    • Spook LM profile image
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      Spook LM 6 years ago

      @Rusty Quill: It sure does and thank you for your visit and comment. Imagine camping beside one of these?

    • Rusty Quill profile image

      Rusty Quill 6 years ago

      I love interesting trees and this one sure fits that description. :)

    • Spook LM profile image
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      Spook LM 6 years ago

      @kimmanleyort: Very pleased to hear that.

    • Spook LM profile image
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      Spook LM 6 years ago

      @RhondaAlbom: It's a pleasure.

    • Spook LM profile image
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      Spook LM 6 years ago

      @rewards4life info: Thank you.

    • Spook LM profile image
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      Spook LM 6 years ago

      @hlkljgk: It's my pleasure and thank you too.

    • Spook LM profile image
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      Spook LM 6 years ago

      @linhah lm: Very pleased to hear that and thank you for your visit and comment.

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      kimmanleyort 6 years ago

      I am glad that you are introducing people to this wonderful tree. Thanks.

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 6 years ago from New Zealand

      Really interesting tree. Thanks for "introducing" me to it.

    • rewards4life info profile image

      rewards4life info 6 years ago

      When I was watching the BBC's Madagascar series, I was amazed on how these tree adapted their structure to survive years without drop of rain. Very interesting, informative lens. Well done!

    • hlkljgk profile image

      hlkljgk 6 years ago from Western Mass

      certainly an interesting tree. thanks for some detailed info.

    • linhah lm profile image

      Linda Hahn 6 years ago from California

      I read about this tree when I was a kid.

    • Spook LM profile image
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      Spook LM 6 years ago

      @HeatherTodd1: And thank you too for your visit and comment.

    • HeatherTodd1 profile image

      HeatherTodd1 6 years ago

      Thanks for the Nice post!

    • Spook LM profile image
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      Spook LM 6 years ago

      @chrispell017: Thank you and delighted with your visit.

    • Spook LM profile image
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      Spook LM 6 years ago

      @stephenteacher: Pleased to be of help and thanks for the visit.

    • Spook LM profile image
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      Spook LM 6 years ago

      @celeBritys4africA: Thank you.

    • Spook LM profile image
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      Spook LM 6 years ago

      @sousababy: Hope so too and many thanks.

    • Spook LM profile image
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      Spook LM 6 years ago

      @sousababy: I'm always surprised by this and thank you.

    • Spook LM profile image
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      Spook LM 6 years ago

      @anonymous: My that is a pleasure and thank you.

    • Spook LM profile image
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      Spook LM 6 years ago

      @debnet: Perchance a bit of both? Thank you.

    • Spook LM profile image
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      Spook LM 6 years ago

      @Blackspaniel1: Thank you.

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      chrispell017 6 years ago

      great lens!

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      Stephen Carr 6 years ago from Corona, CA

      Great lens! Enjoyed learning about these trees.