Title: Baobabs of the World
Authors: Andry Petignat, Louise Jasper
Genre: Illustrated book
Publisher: Penguin Random House South Africa (Nature)
Cape Town, South Africa 2016
ISBN 9781775843702 / ISBN 978-1-77584-370-2
Softcover, 19 x 25 cm, 112 pages, throughout colour photographs
The enormous baobab is one of the most iconic trees of the African continent. What few people realize is that Africa is home to just one widespread species, while the island of Madagascar possesses six wonderfully diverse species that exhibit an array of astonishing growth forms. Although Madagascar's baobabs outshine their single African cousin in terms of their variety, floral beauty and adaptability (if not in overall size), surprisingly little research has focused on their biology and commercial potential. The African species, however, has been intensively studied in recent decades. Much remains to be discovered about these huge, stem-succulent trees, but for several species threatened by human activities, time is running out.
This guide to Baobabs of the world provides a brief introduction to the known species of baobab, with emphasis on the Malagasy species but also including those from Africa and Australia. The existence of a putative ninth species, Adansonia kilima, has been reported from Africa, but this has not been independently verified so we have decided not to include it in this book. We hope that baobab lovers will enjoy this guide, and that it will not only aid in identifying the eight species, but also play a small part in bringing these magnificent and culturally significant trees to a wider audience. The first section of this guide begins with a short introduction to the classification and general description of baobabs, followed by details of their life history, biogeography, dispersal and role in people's lives.
The second section comprises a guide to each of the eight baobab species, including a botanical description, details of their habitat, distribution and principal uses, based on information sourced from scientific literature or directly from the Malagasy people (in the case of Madagascar's baobabs) who use baobabs in their daily lives. The 120 photographs and 32 line drawings show the leaves, flowers, fruits and typical growth habit of each species. We have provided a glossary to aid understanding of some of the scientific terms used in this guide. Baobabs of the World is not just a guide, it is a celebration of these unique, charismatic trees. We hope this book will inspire you to learn more about baobabs, or even take a special journey to visit them.
INTRODUCTION TO BAOBABS
LIFE AND DEATH
BAOBABS IN CULTURE
BAOBABS FROM ELSEWHERE