The African Baobab is the most renowned of the 9 species of adansonia which occur in africa, madagascar, arabia and australia. It is a huge, strange and grotesque tree in habitat, reaching 70 feet in height, up to 35 feet in diameter and bottle-shaped. The inner trunk wood is soft and porous , storing water for the dry season. It has sparse branches, a spreading crown, open to moderately dense, rounded or irregular in shape. The deciduous leaves are olive to dark green, palmate compound, with 5 - 7 leaflets each 2 - 6 inches long, borne in clusters at branch ends. Leaves are shed in the dry season, flowering occurs before new leaves are produced. Flowers are large, white, 8 inches in diameter, short-lived, suspended on long stalks. Nectar has a carrion odor and attracts fruit bats. The fruit is large, hairy, yellow-brown capsule, also on a long stalk, and up to 8 inches long, containing dry pulp and numerous seeds. Seeds and cuttings are used for propagation. Baobob provides nutritional traditional food; the leaves, pulp and seeds are edible, and are also fed to livestock. The bark yields a useful fiber and the trunk wood can be carved into a canoe. Baobob prefers sandy soils and has a shallow but extensive rooty system. In the new world this tree behaves quite differently as its growth is more rapid and the foliage stays for longer periods on the tree. This tree is statuesque and its hefty structure makes it a striking landscape tree. A defining icon for any home with a large back and front yard, it also can be planted in recreational parks, botanical gardens as a curiosity and in a xerophytic garden.
The various parts of the baobab are used to treat a large number of ailments. Nearly every part of the tree has some medicinal value. A few include: powered bark mixed with porridge for malaria; the pulp of the fruit is mixed with honey and is used for coughing; the leaves are used for diarrhoea, fever, inflammation, kidney and bladder diseases, blood clearing, and asthma; the leaves also serve as emollients and are used to help extract guinea worm; the fruits and seeds are used for dysentery, fever, haemoptysis and diarrhoea; dry powered roots are prepared as a mash for malaria; and gum from the bark is used for cleaning sores (westman draft).