The Baobabs of Madagascar
“I pointed out to the little prince that the baobabs are not shrubs, but trees as big as castles and that, if even he took with him a whole herd of elephants, this herd would not eat up a single baobab.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, 1943, “The Little Prince”
Mythical tree par excellence and in the imagination of each of us since childhood, the baobab is an exceptional tree, of rare beauty.
The most beautiful and largest specimens grow in Madagascar, which lists six of the eight known species: Adansonia grandidieri, Adansonia madagascariensis, Adansonia perrieri, Adansonia rubrostipa, Adansonia suarezensis, Adansonia za.
Two other species grow outside the island: one on the African continent, Adansonia digitata, and the other in Australia, Adansonia gibbosa.
Some specimens are very old, like the one called “the grandmother” in the Tsimanampetsota area, which has just been dated 1600 years old.
Madagascar is the only place in the world where the life of the inhabitants is closely linked to the baobabs. They hold a preponderant place in the social and economic life of the villages. It is considered a sacred tree there because with its spectacular appearance it is at the center of beliefs. Legend has it that its branches, turned up toward the sky, are the roots of the tree and that they allow it to communicate with the ancestors.