It is not known exactly when Barbados' two mature Baobabs
arrived but it has been said that it was the early 1700's when the trees
were brought from Guinea in Africa. The Baobab that stands in Bridgetown's
beautiful city park, Queens Park, has a girth of 51.5 ft (18.5 m)
slightly smaller Baobab is situated on the Warren's Road in St. Thomas
and has a girth of 44.4ft. (13.6m). There are also several young trees
to be found, in Flower Forest, in the grounds of the Barbados Pavilion
and also privately grown.
The Baobab (Adansonia digitata) is native to Madagascar and North Western
Australia and carbon dating has shown that they live for between 2,000
and 6,000 years! It is thought probable that the seeds were originally
carried to Australia from Africa and Madagascar as food.
As well as being a source of food (the seed kernels can be eaten raw or
roasted and are extremely nutritious) and medicine (leaves and roots),
there is also a great deal of legend attached to Baobabs. In Senegal the
Baobab is sometimes used to contain the remains of the guardians of cultural
history, known as Griots, and also features in fertility and other rites.
The Baobab flowers in the wet season, blossoming at night and attracting
moths and bats for pollination purposes by exuding a powerful perfume.
The flowers then develop into velvety seed pods.
Inside the pods the Baobab seeds nestle in a fibrous bed surrounded by
a hard protective casing. When the casing breaks open the seeds are dispersed
by animals and birds.
The Baobab seedling is very robust, an indication of the magnificent tree
it will become.
The young Baobab grows quickly...
These specimens are just two years old and have been cultivated in pots.
Whatever the season, the Baobabs of Barbados are always a magnificent
site to behold
and visitors are always moved to illustrate just how large these incredible
trees are! This is the Warren's Baobab being hugged.
Visit a selection of Barbados' horticultural treasures including Flower
Forest where you will find a young Baobab.