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Adansonia digitata

   (Family: Malvaceae)
Afrikaans: kremetartboom English: Baobab, Cream of Tartar tree, monkey-bread tree, lemonade tree Xhosa: isimuku, umShimulu, isiMuhu  EDIT
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Plant Type: EDIT  Tree
Height: 15 - 25m
Spread: 38m
Special properties:
  Drought Resistant (heavy)
  Frost Tolerant (heavy)
  Has Medicinal Uses
Rarity Status:
Preferred position:
Full Sun
Tolerated soil:  
pH: neutral
Flowering time EDIT
                  x x x
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Flower colours
Flower shape
Flower type
  Flower scent EDIT
  Sweetly scented
  Pollination by fruit bats takes place at night
  Flower info
  The large white pendulous flowers (up to 200 mm in diameter) are produced in early Summer.
Leaf shape EDIT
Leaf margin
Leaf type
Leaf arrangement
Leaf texture Smooth
Bark / Stem type
Leaf size 0150mm
  Leaf info EDIT
  The large leaves are divided into about five to seven leaflets, all borne on a single long, thin stalk. Each leaflet tapers to a sharp point and is up tp 150mm long.
Fruit colour
Seed colour
  Seed size Length: 150mm   
  Seed info EDIT
  It has large egg-shaped fruits of up to 150mm long. The seeds are surrounded by a powdery white pulp and the thin, hard outer shell of the fruit is covered with characteristic velvety, yellow hairs.
Description EDIT
This remarkable tree is a conspicuous feature of the Norhtern Province of South Africa. It is reletively short, but develops a massive, unevenly folded trunk of more than 20m in circumference.
Growing EDIT
Distribution EDIT
Widely distributed in Africa, but in South Africa it is restricted to frost-free areas in the northern part of the country.
History EDIT
A refreshing drink is prepared from the pale yellow or whitish fruit pulp, which has been regarded as "cream of tartar".
This drink has been used to treat fevers, diarrhoea and apparently also haemoptysis.

In West Africa, the bark and leaves are claimed to have anti-inflammatory and diaphoretic properties and are regarded as a remedy for urinary disorders and mild diarrhoea.

The leaves are reported to be used against fever, to reduce perspiration and as an astringent.

In the Nothern Province, the powdered seeds are given to children as a hiccup remedy.

The bark has been sold commercially in Europe under the name "cortex cael cedra" to treat fevers and as a substitute for cinchona bark.

The fruit pulp is rich in citric acid and tartaric acid.
Ecology EDIT
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  • Ben-Erik van Wyk, (2005), Medicinal Plants of South Africa ,Briza Publications  


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