Adansonia digitata
Common Name: baobab 
Type: Tree
Family: Malvaceae
Native Range: Subsaharan Africa
Zone: 10 to 12
Height: 65.00 to 80.00 feet
Spread: 30.00 to 45.00 feet
Bloom Time: Seasonal bloomer
Bloom Description: Creamy white
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Shade Tree
Flower: Showy
Fruit: Showy, Edible
Tolerate: Drought, Dry Soil


Best grown in well-draining, slightly acidic, sandy loams in full sun. Tolerant of extreme drought and fire. Requires a period of dry dormancy in winter. Will respond well to regular waterings during the growing season. Easily propagated by seed. Hardy in Zones 10b(35°)-12. Intolerant of frost.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Adansonia digitata, commonly called baobab, is a deciduous, slow-growing, succulent tree native to seasonally dry, low elevation areas of tropical Africa mainly in rocky, open woodlands, scrublands, and on savannas. Mature baobab trees can reach up to 80' tall with thickened trunks as large as 45' wide, sometimes exceeding the width of the canopy. The sparse, open canopy is made up of stout, upright branches. The 6-8" wide, palmate leaves are made up of 5-7 leaflets and are dropped during the dry season. The first rains of the wet season typically trigger flowering. The large, pendulous blooms are creamy white in color and can reach up to 8" wide and 10" long, held from the leaf axils by pedicles (flower stalks) reaching up 35" long. The flowers open for one night and are pollinated by fruit bats. The fruits are egg-shaped capsules that can reach up to 10" long and mature on the tree over several months. The fruits contain black seeds surrounded by a chalky pulp rich in vitamins and minerals.

The genus name Adansonia honors Michel Adanson (1727-1806), French botanist and naturalist.

The specific epithet digitata means "finger", in reference to the palmate foliage.

The common name baobab comes from the Medieval Latin bahobab, which most likely originated from the name given to this tree in a central African language.


A generally healthy and long-lived tree. Possible pest problems include cotton bollworms, cotton-stainer bugs, mealybugs and flea beetles. Potential diseases include various sooty molds, powdery mildew, and root rot from water-logged soil.


Specimen tree, shade tree. Suitable for use as a bonsai. This tree is incredibly valuable to the people who live in the regions where it is native. The leaves, roots, flowers, fruit pulp, and seeds are all edible and have various traditional medicinal uses. The dried pulp is sold around the world in powdered form. The bark fibers can be harvested and used to make ropes, mats, nets, and fabric.