TREES OF AFRICA06 October 2020
This month’s Chasing the Tree adventure takes us to Africa and introduces African Blackwood, Giraffe Thorn, Leadwood and Baobab.
Musical Inspiration: African Blackwood
African Blackwood (Dalbergia Melanoxylon) is a flowering plant native to Africa. Reaching 4-15m in height. In bloom, African Blackwood produces white flowers. It also produces fruits, which have 1-2 seeds.
Especially in its native land, African Blackwood is used to create musical instruments such as clarinet, obua, and flute. It is also known as Babanus and Grenadilla.
Giraffe Specialty: Giraffe Thorn
Belonging to the Fabaceae family of flowering plants, Giraffe Thorn (Acacia Erioloba) is found in parts of South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Angola, Mozambique, Zambia, and Swaziland.
Giraffe Thorn grows very slowly, however its height reaching up to 20m. It is resistant against drought and frost. Its name is inspired by giraffes that feed on these trees. Giraffes’ thong and lips are specially adapted to avoid thorns.
Culturally Valuable: Leadwood
Belonging to the Combretaceae family of flowering plants, Leadwood (Combretum imberbe), is a characteristic and impressive bushwillow, that reaches up to 20 m.
Native to Africa, Leadwood is especially holds a special cultural DNA religious significance in Namibia, where it is considered to be the ancestor of all humans and animals.
Upside Down: Baobab
Belonging to the Malvaceae family of flowering plants, Baobab (Adansonia grandidieri) grows in tropical areas. Growing up to 18m in height, it often has a massive trunk.
Also known as the Upside Down Tree, Baobab are leafless through most of the year because of drought. Leafless branches spreading around causes the top of the tree to look like it has its roots on top, which inspired the the nickname “upside-down”. The tree’s bark and leaves are used in the treatment of fever. It produces sour and plumb fruits, which can be consumed with sugar. The juice from the tree, known as bouye, is believed to increase lifespan.
Baobab fruit is also known to be the most antioxidant fruit and is a great source of Vitamin C, calcium, potassium, fibre, and B6.