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Fantasy Tree: the Baobab

Thank you to Daniel Montesinos, for allowing me to post his photo of Baobab (Alley) Avenue in Madagascar. Coincidentally I was just reading about baobab trees, Andasonia digitata, in “The Soul of a Tree” by George Nakashima, a Seattle woodworker who was honored in 1989 at an exhibit of “America’s Living National Treasures.” That same day I stumbled upon Daniel’s photos of these weird, fascinating trees — and I wasn’t searching for baobab photos either!

Anyway, Nakashima writes that, “although baobabs are huge, sometimes reaching almost a hundred feet in girth, their ages are obscure, for they do not have annual rings like most trees.” Hmmm …. wonder how scientists do calculate the age of these trees? Nakashima mentions a baobab said to be over four thousand (!) years old.

Here is another of Daniel’s photos of these trees — they look like something out of Dr. Seuss’s imagination:

The wood of the baobab tree can be 60 to 70 percent moisture and the tree trunks actually shrink in diameter during drought. The wood is pulpy, so I’m curious why Nakashima included the baobab in his chapter on trees used by woodworkers.


Baobab photos by Daniel Montesinos

The Soul of a Tree, by George Nakashima

Nature, Form, and Spirit: The Life and Legacy of George Nakashima
By Mira Nakashima

More about Baobab Trees