Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution

, Volume 63, Issue 3, pp 377–399 | Cite as

Africa’s wooden elephant: the baobab tree (Adansonia digitata L.) in Sudan and Kenya: a review

  • Jens Gebauer
  • Yahia O. Adam
  • Aida Cuní Sanchez
  • Dietrich Darr
  • Muneer E. S. Eltahir
  • Kamal E. M. Fadl
  • Gabriele Fernsebner
  • Michael Frei
  • Tsige-Yohannes Habte
  • Karl Hammer
  • Mauricio Hunsche
  • Henry Johnson
  • Maha Kordofani
  • Michael Krawinkel
  • Florian Kugler
  • Eike Luedeling
  • Tarig E. Mahmoud
  • Anthony Maina
  • Dagmar Mithöfer
  • Chimuleke R. Y. Munthali
  • Georg Noga
  • Rabea North
  • Willis O. Owino
  • Kathleen Prinz
  • Freda K. Rimberia
  • Amina Saied
  • Martin Schüring
  • Anne Sennhenn
  • Martin A. Späth
  • Mohamed E. N. Taha
  • Andreas Triebel
  • Florian Wichern
  • Martin Wiehle
  • Nicole Wrage-Mönnig
  • Katja Kehlenbeck
Review Paper


Wild edible fruits hold great potential for improving human diets, especially in agricultural societies of the developing world. In Africa, a well-known supplier of such fruits is the baobab (Adansonia digitata L., Malvaceae), one of the most remarkable trees of the world. Several studies in different African countries have highlighted this indigenous fruit tree as a priority species for domestication and expanded use. However, internationally available information on baobab in East Africa, particularly in Sudan and Kenya, remains scarce. This review aims to shed light on the ecology, diversity and current level of utilization of baobab in East Africa in order to facilitate domestication and conservation of the species. A list of priority research areas is provided at the end of the review to encourage further studies and investment in this unique plant taxon.


Adansonia digitata Agroforestry Ethnobotany Fruit Indigenous fruit tree (IFT) Nutrition Up-side down tree Sub-Sahara 



This review is an output of the project “BAOFRUIT-Partnership for developing the use of Baobab in the African and European food industry to improve sustainable resource utilisation and livelihoods of poor farmers in the drylands of Sub-Saharan Africa” (01DG13015) funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jens Gebauer
    • 1
  • Yahia O. Adam
    • 2
  • Aida Cuní Sanchez
    • 4
  • Dietrich Darr
    • 1
  • Muneer E. S. Eltahir
    • 5
  • Kamal E. M. Fadl
    • 6
  • Gabriele Fernsebner
    • 7
  • Michael Frei
    • 8
  • Tsige-Yohannes Habte
    • 9
  • Karl Hammer
    • 10
  • Mauricio Hunsche
    • 8
  • Henry Johnson
    • 12
  • Maha Kordofani
    • 3
  • Michael Krawinkel
    • 9
  • Florian Kugler
    • 1
  • Eike Luedeling
    • 11
  • Tarig E. Mahmoud
    • 5
  • Anthony Maina
    • 13
  • Dagmar Mithöfer
    • 1
  • Chimuleke R. Y. Munthali
    • 15
  • Georg Noga
    • 8
  • Rabea North
    • 16
  • Willis O. Owino
    • 14
  • Kathleen Prinz
    • 17
  • Freda K. Rimberia
    • 14
  • Amina Saied
    • 3
  • Martin Schüring
    • 18
  • Anne Sennhenn
    • 19
  • Martin A. Späth
    • 7
  • Mohamed E. N. Taha
    • 5
  • Andreas Triebel
    • 20
  • Florian Wichern
    • 1
  • Martin Wiehle
    • 21
  • Nicole Wrage-Mönnig
    • 22
  • Katja Kehlenbeck
    • 11
  1. 1.Rhine-Waal University of Applied SciencesKleveGermany
  2. 2.Rhodes UniversityGrahamstownSouth Africa
  3. 3.University of KhartoumKhartoumSudan
  4. 4.University of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark
  5. 5.University of KordofanEl ObeidSudan
  6. 6.Agricultural Research CorporationWad MadaniSudan
  7. 7.BiomegaTrofaiachAustria
  8. 8.University of BonnBonnGermany
  9. 9.Justus-Liebig University GiessenGiessenGermany
  10. 10.Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK)GaterslebenGermany
  11. 11.World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF)NairobiKenya
  12. 12.Phytotrade AfricaLondonUK
  13. 13.Wild Living ResourcesKilifiKenya
  14. 14.Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and TechnologyJujaKenya
  15. 15.Mzuzu UniversityMzuzuMalawi
  16. 16.GESIS – Leibniz-Institute for the Social SciencesMannheimGermany
  17. 17.Friedrich-Schiller-University JenaJenaGermany
  18. 18.ttz BremerhavenBremerhavenGermany
  19. 19.Georg-August University GöttingenGöttingenGermany
  20. 20.Baobab Social Business gGmbHMunichGermany
  21. 21.University of KasselKasselGermany
  22. 22.University of RostockRostockGermany

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