Legend holds that when the Baobab was planted by God, it kept walking, so God pulled it up and replanted it upside down to stop it moving. When travelling to Australia, Africa or Madagascar, you might spot a lonely tree that looks as if it is growing upside-down, with twisted roots sitting atop a huge, smooth, trunk.
We have taken a closer look at this massive tree, one of the oldest and strangest living things on our planet. In keeping with its unusual characteristics, it has a weird-sounding name – the baobab.
The Baobab, Upside-Down Tree or Adansonia are some of the names used can reach heights of 5 to 30 metres (16 to 98 ft) and have trunk diameters of 7 to 11 metres (23 to 36 ft).
Even is some claim that the Baobab may be many thousands of years old, it is difficult to verify as the wood does not produce annual growth rings. [25 pictures]
Tree in the background is a baobab and the girl and the shot is from Madagascar.
A small coastal town and economic center of the west coast of Madagascar, formerly the heart of the Sakalava kingdom. Early in the morning starting at 5 in order not to miss the sunrise. The road between Morondava and Belo-Tsribihina is flanked by the largest baobabs of Madagascar. May 1, 2007 (CC Rita Willaert).
The bark of the tree is a pinkish grey color sort of like hippo skin. It contains a tragacanth like gum thick with mucilage, making it very bitter, however the native people still use it as food. Also, it is very good for bringing down fevers and some natives believe that it can cure malaria. For this, the leave is boiled and the water that is left after the boiling can be taken in small dosages to cure asthma, coughs and other chest related ailments. June, 2009. (special permission Tõnu Pihelgas).