Bamba, Fertata, Baobub (Amargna),
Hermer banba, Kommer, Momret (Tigrigna), Baobab (English)
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.
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.
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).
Propagates by seedlings and cuttings.
Siska Kebele, Zequala Woreda (Wag
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