How old are baobabs, and why don’t we see any small ones?

baobab with a giraffe

Only a baobab can make a giraffe look puny.

Baobabs are one of the most impressive trees in the East African savanna landscape, and ecologist Colin Beale at Safari Ecology blog says he’s often asked two questions about them: how old are they? And why don’t we see baby baobabs? This blog post explores some recent answers to those questions.

(I’m grateful to Colin for the submission, not only because he’s summarizing a research paper not available on the open web, but also because seeing baobabs is one of my life goals. As a matter of fact, I just mentioned my baobab-longing yesterday — if y’all will indulge me a link to my own blog — in a post called “Strange trees.”)

About Dave Bonta

I'm the author of several books of poetry, including Ice Mountain: An Elegy, Breakdown: Banjo Poems, and Odes to Tools, but my real work is at my long-running literary blog Via Negativa, where I'm currently creating erasure poems from every entry of the Diary of Samuel Pepys. I'm also the editor and publisher of Moving Poems, a blog showcasing the best poetry videos on the web.

Posted on February 1, 2012, in Old-Growth, Species portraits and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I desperately want to see baobabs in person, too. I want to put my arms around one. Someday!

  2. I LOVE the baobab tree. 2nd favorite only to the Banyan Tree. I actually wrote a small blog on the Banyan Tree over at They are truly majestic. Thanks so much for this wonderful Post.


  3. I lived in Malawi for two years. My house was right next to an amazing baobab tree. Wonderful trees.

  4. Georgia (local ecologist)

    I saw baobabs Botswana – majestic.

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