Adansonia digitata is a massive tree of the African landscape. Its overpowering presence has intrigued the minds of people living in its habitat for many generations. Many legends and myths surround it in folklore.
A small part of the baobab distribution area lies in the far north of South Africa, in part of the Limpopo Province. It is more prevalent beyond the South African northern border in tropical Africa.
The bark shows a variety of colours ranging from pale pink, red-brown and coppery to grey. The bark texture is mostly smooth with irregular folds and undulations. The leaves on a mature tree such as the one in picture are digitate with five to nine leaflets. Saplings have simple leaves while the leaves on young trees become trifoliolate. This has given rise to a myth among rural people that baobabs appear on the land suddenly, miraculously as mature trees; the younger versions not being recognised for what they are.
Trees like this one of the Limpopo Valley is these days threatened by rampant coal mining in the area, sometimes failing to find a place for nature conservation in its core business strategy. Environmental impact considerations are mostly treated as irrelevant irritations for which the half-hearted Government needs to be only superficially placated (Coates Palgrave, 2002).