A note on baobab (Adansonia digitata L.) in Kordofan, Sudan

Abstract

The isolated Sudanese baobab (Adansonia digitata L.) populations, located at the northernmost limit of the East African distributional range of the species, are regarded as important genetic resources. The morphological variation in fruits of selected baobab trees in Kordofan, Sudan, was evaluated by sampling fruits and assessing their characteristics. Furthermore, locations and stem diameter at breast height of 240 baobabs were mapped for a stand in Kordofan. Our preliminary results indicated a high diversity in fruit phenotypes. Ventricose, crescent-shaped, globose and fusiform fruit types were identified. Fruit shape varied between trees but was consistent within each individual tree. Percentage of fruit pulp varied between the different fruit types with 14, 15, 18, and 21 % recorded for ventricose, fusiform, crescent-shaped and globose fruits, respectively. Interesting was also the observation of baobab morphotypes that retained leaves during the dry season. Variation in leaf morphology could also be recognised. Measurements of baobab trees revealed a density of 0.72 individuals ha−1. Stem diameters ranged from 0.06 to 4.77 m. The size class distribution (SCD) showed an inverse J-shaped curve with a SCD slope of −0.57 which indicates a viable regenerating population. Based on the results recorded, enhancement of scientific research activities on the almost unstudied baobabs in Kordofan, Sudan is highly recommended.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5

References

  1. Abasse T, Weber JC, Katkore B, Boureima M, Larwanou M, Kalinganire A (2011) Morphological variation in Balanites aegyptiaca fruits and seeds within and among parkland agroforests in eastern Niger. Agroforest Syst 81:57–66

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Akinnifesi FK, Leakey RRB (2008) Preface. In: Akinnifesi FK, Leakey RRB, Ajayi OC, Sileshi G, Tchoundjeu Z, Matakala P, Kwesiga FR (eds) Indigenous fruit trees in the tropics: domestication, utilization and commercialization. CAB International Publishing, USA

    Google Scholar 

  3. Akinnifesi FK, Sileshi G, Ajayi OC, Chirwa PW, Kwisiga FR, Harawa R (2008) Contributions of agroforestry research and development to livelihood of smallholder farmers in southern Africa: 2. fruit, medicinal, fuelwood and fodder trees systems. Agric J 3:76–88

    Google Scholar 

  4. Assogbadjo AE, Sinsin B, Codjia JTC, Van Damme P (2005a) Ecological diversity and pulp, seed and kernel production of the baobab (Adansonia digitata) in Benin. Belg J Bot 138:47–56

    Google Scholar 

  5. Assogbadjo AE, Sinsin B, Van Damme P (2005b) Caractères morphologiques et production des capsules de baobab (Adansonia digitata L.) au Bènin. Fruits 60:327–340

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Assogbadjo AE, Kyndt T, Sinsin B, Gheysen G, Van Damme P (2006) Patterns of genetic and morphometric diversity in baobab (Adansonia digitata) populations across different climatic zones of Benin (West Africa). Ann Bot 97:819–830

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. Assogbadjo AE, Glèlè Kakaï R, Chadare FJ, Thomson L, Kyndt T, Sinsin B, van Damme P (2008) Folk classification, perception and preferences of baobab products in West Africa: consequences for species conservation and improvement. Econ Bot 62:74–84

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Assogbadjo AE, Glèlè Kakaï R, Edon S, Kyndt B, Sinsin B (2011) Natural variation in fruit characteristics, seed germination and seedling growth of Adansonia digitata L. in Benin. New Forest 41:113–125

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Atangana AR, Tchoundjeu Z, Fondoun JM, Asaah E, Ndoumbe M, Leakey RRB (2001) Domestication of Irvingia gabonensis: 1. Phenotypic variation in fruits and kernels in two populations from Cameroon. Agroforest Syst 53:55–64

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Barnes FW (1980) The decline of the baobab tree in Ruaha National Park, Tanzania. Afr J Ecol 18:243–252

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Bernholt B, Kehlenbeck K, Gebauer J, Buerkert A (2009) Plant species richness and diversity in urban and peri-urban gardens of Niamey, Niger. Agroforest Syst 77:159–179

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Buchmann C, Prehsler S, Hartl A, Vogl CR (2010) The importance of baobab (Adansonia digitata L.) in rural West African subsistence–suggestion of a cautionary approach to international market export of baobab fruits. Ecol Food Nutr 49:145–172

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Chirwa PW, Akinnifesi FK (2008) Ecology and biology of Uapaca kirkiana, Strychnos cocculoides and Sclerocarya birrea in Southern Africa. In: Akinnifesi FK, Leakey RRB, Ajayi OC, Sileshi G, Tchoundjeu Z, Matakala P, Kwesiga FR (eds) Indigenous fruit trees in the tropics. CAB International Publishing, USA

    Google Scholar 

  14. Condit R, Sukumar R, Hubbell SP, Foster RB (1998) Predicting population trends from size distributions: a direct test in a tropical tree community. Am Nat 152:495–509

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  15. Cuni Sanchez A (2011a) The baobab tree in Malawi. Fruits 66:405–416

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Cuni Sanchez A (2011b) The status of baobab tree populations in southern Malawi: implications for further exploitation. For Tree Livelihood 20:1–16

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Cuni Sanchez A, Haq N, Assogbadjo AE (2010) Variation in baobab (Adansonia digitata L.) leaf morphology and its relation to drought tolerance. Genet Resour Crop Evol 57:17–25

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Cuni Sanchez A, De Smedt S, Haq N, Samson R (2011a) Comparative study on baobab fruit morphological variation between western and southeastern Africa: opportunities for domestication. Genet Resour Crop Evol 58:1143–1156

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Cuni Sanchez A, Osborne PE, Haq N (2011b) Climate change and the African baobab (Adansonia digitata L.): the need for better conservation strategies. Afr J Ecol 49:234–245

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. De Caluwé E, Halamová K, Van Damme P (2010) Adansonia digitata L.—a review of traditional uses, phytochemistry and pharmacology. Afrika Focus 23:11–51

    Google Scholar 

  21. De Smedt S, Alaerts K, Kouyaté AM, Van Damme P, Potters G, Samson R (2011) Phenotypic variation of baobab (Adansonia digitata L.) fruit traits in Mali. Agroforest Syst 82:87–97

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Dhillion SS, Gustad G (2004) Local management practices influence the viability of the baobab (Adansonia digitata Linn.) in different land use types, Cinzana. Mali Agric Ecosyst Environ 101:85–103

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Duvall CS (2007) Human settlement and baobab distribution in south-western Mali. J Biogeogr 34:1947–1961

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. El Amin HM (1990) Trees and shrubs of the Sudan. Ithaca Press Exeter, USA

    Google Scholar 

  25. El Tahir BA, Gebauer J (2004) Non-timber forest products. In: Opportunities and constraints for poverty reduction in the Nuba Mountains, South Kordofan, Sudan. A full paper online publication of the conference on international agricultural research for development, 1–10. http://www.tropentag.de/2004/abstracts/full/93.pdf. Accessed 26 Dec 2012

  26. El Tahir BA, Fadl KEM, Fadlalmula AGD (2010) Forest biodiversity in Kordofan region, Sudan: effects of climate change, pests, disease and human activities. Biodiversity 11:34–43

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Ffolliott PF, Gottfried GJ, Rietveld WJ (1995) Dryland forestry for sustainable development. J Arid Environ 30:143–152

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Gebauer J (2003) Ökophysiologie und Verwendungsmöglichkeiten der Wildobstarten Adansonia digitata und Tamarindus indica im Sudan [Ecophysiology and potential uses of the wild fruit species Adansonia digitata and Tamarindus indica in Sudan]. PhD thesis, Faculty of Agriculture and Horticulture, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. http://edoc.hu-berlin.de/dissertationen/gebauer-jens-2003-06-05/PDF/Gebauer.pdf. Accessed 27 Dec 2012

  29. Gebauer J (2005) Plant species diversity of home gardens in El Obeid, Central Sudan. JARTS 106:97–103

    Google Scholar 

  30. Gebauer J, Osman OA (2004) Obstbau im Sudan - unter Berücksichtigung von Wildobst [Fruit production in Sudan, including wild fruits]. Erwerbs-Obstbau 46:110–116

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Gebauer J, El-Siddig K, Ebert G (2002a) The potential of underutilized fruit trees in Central Sudan. A full paper online publication of the Conference on International Agricultural Research for Development, 1–6. http://www.agrar.uni-kassel.de/opats/pub/2002Gebauer05.pdf. Accessed 27 Dec 2012

  32. Gebauer J, El-Siddig K, Ebert G (2002b) Baobab (Adansonia digitata L.): a review on a multipurpose tree with promising future in the Sudan. Eur J Hort Sci 67:155–160

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  33. Gebauer J, El-Siddig K, El-Tahir BA, Salih AA, Ebert G, Hammer K (2007) Exploiting the potential of indigenous fruit trees: Grewia tenax in Sudan. Genet Resour Crop Evol 54:1701–1708

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  34. Goenster S, Wiehle M, Kehlenbeck K, Jamnadass R, Gebauer J, Buerkert A (2011) Indigenous fruit trees in homegardens of the Nuba Mountains, Central Sudan: tree diversity and potential for improving nutrition and income of rural communities. Acta Hort 911:355–364

    Google Scholar 

  35. Hammer K, Heller J, Engels J (2001) Monographs on underutilized and neglected crops. Genet Resour Crop Evol 48:3–5

    Article  Google Scholar 

  36. Haq N, Bowe C, Dunsiger Z (2008) Challenges to stimulating the adoption and impact of indigenous fruit trees in tropical agriculture. In: Akinnifesi FK, Leaky RRB, Ajayi OC, Silesh G, Tchoundjeu Z, Matakala P, Kwesiga FR (eds) Indigenous fruit trees in the tropics: domestication, utilization and commercialization. CAB International Publishing, USA

    Google Scholar 

  37. Jama BA, Mohamed AM, Mulatya J, Njui AN (2008) Comparing the “big five”: a framework for the sustainable management of indigenous fruit trees in the drylands of east and central Africa. Ecol Indic 8:170–179

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Jensen JS, Bayala J, Sanou H, Korbo A, Ræbild A, Kambou S, Tougiani A, Bouda H-N, Larsen SA, Parkouda C (2011) A research approach supporting domestication of baobab (Adansonia digitata L.) in West Africa. New Forest 41:317–335

    Article  Google Scholar 

  39. Jose S (2009) Agroforestry for ecosystem services and environmental benefits: an overview. Agroforest Syst 76:1–10

    Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Kaboré D, Sawadogo-Lingani H, Diawara B, Compaoré CS, Dicko MH, Jakobsen M (2011) A review of baobab (Adansonia digitata) products: effect of processing techniques, medicinal properties and uses. Afr J Food Sci 5:833–844

    Google Scholar 

  41. Kalinganire A, Weber JC, Uwamariya A, Kone B (2008) Improving rural livelihoods through domestication of indigenous fruit trees in the parklands of the Sahel. In: Akinnifesi FK, Leaky RRB, Ajayi OC, Silesh G, Tchoundjeu Z, Matakala P, Kwesiga FR (eds) Indigenous fruit trees in the tropics domestication, utilization and commercialization. CAB International Publishing, USA

    Google Scholar 

  42. Kyndt T, Assogbadjo AE, Hardy OJ, Glèlè Kakaï R, Sinsin B, Van Dame P, Gheysen G (2009) Spatial genetic structuring of baobab (Adansonia digitata L., Malvaceae) in the traditional agroforestry systems of West Africa. Am J Bot 955:950–957

    Article  Google Scholar 

  43. Leakey R, Shackleton S, Plessis P (2005) Domestication potential of Marula (Sclerocarya birrea subsp. caffra) in South Africa and Namibia: 1. Phenotypic variation in fruit traits. Agroforest Syst 64:25–35

    Article  Google Scholar 

  44. Lykke AM (1998) Assessment of species composition change in savanna vegetation by means of woody plants’ size class distributions and local information. Biodiver Conserv 7:1261–1275

    Article  Google Scholar 

  45. Maranz S, Niang A, Kalinganire A, Konate D, Kaya B (2008) Potential to harness superior nutritional qualities of exotic baobabs if local adaptation can be conferred through grafting. Agroforest Sys 72:231–239

    Article  Google Scholar 

  46. Munthali CRY, Chirwa PW, Akinnifesi FK (2012) Phenotypic variation in fruit and seed morphology of Adansonia digitata L. (baobab) in five selected wild populations in Malawi. Agroforest Syst 85:279–290

    Article  Google Scholar 

  47. Noel JC, Saad ZA, Bunderson WT (1990) Planning for agroforestry research in Western Sudan: approaches, issues and lessons learned—the evolution of a management approach. In: Budd WW, Duchhart I, Hardesty LH, Steiner F (eds) Planning for Agroforestry. Elsevier Science Publishers, The Netherlands

    Google Scholar 

  48. Obiri J, Lawes M, Mukolwe M (2002) The dynamics and sustainable use of high value tree species of the coastal Pondoland forests of the Eastern Cape province, South Africa. Forest Ecol Manag 259:294–300

    Article  Google Scholar 

  49. Parkouda C, Sanou H, Tougiani A, Korbo A, Nielsen DS, Tano-Debrah K, Ræbild A, Diawara B, Jensen JS (2012) Variability of Baobab (Adansonia digitata L.) fruits’ physical characteristics and nutrient content in the West African Sahel. Agroforest Syst 85:455–463

    Article  Google Scholar 

  50. Patrut A, Von Reden KF, Lowy DA, Alberts AH, Pohlman JW, Wittmann R, Gerlach D, Xu L, Mitchell CS (2007) Radiocarbon dating of a very large African baobab. Tree Physiol 27:1569–1574

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  51. Pettigrew FRSJD, Bell KL, Bhagwandin A, Grinan E, Jillani N, Meyer J, Wabuyele E, Vickers CE (2012) Morphology, ploidy and molecular phylogenetics reveal a new diploid species from Africa in the baobab genus Adansonia (Malvaceae: Bombacoideae). Taxon 61:1240–1250

    Google Scholar 

  52. R Development Core Team (2011) R: a language and environment for statistical computing. Vienna, Austria. http://www.R-project.org/: R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Austria

  53. Ræbild A, Larsen AS, Jensen JS, Ouedraogo M, De Groote S, Van Damme P, Bayala J, Diallo BO, Sanou H, Kalinganire A, Kjaer ED (2011) Advances in domestication of indigenous fruit trees in the West African Sahel. New Forest 41:297–315

    Article  Google Scholar 

  54. Saied AS, Gebauer J, Hammer K, Buerkert A (2008) Ziziphus spina-christi (L.) Willd.: a multipurpose fruit tree. Genet Resour Crop Evol 55:929–937

    Article  Google Scholar 

  55. Schreckenberg K, Awono A, Degrande A, Mbosso C, Ndoye O, Tchoundjeu Z (2006) Domesticating indigenous fruit trees as a contribution to poverty reduction. For Tree Livelihood 16:35–51

    Article  Google Scholar 

  56. Schumann K, Wittig R, Thiombiano A, Becker U, Hahn K (2010) Impact of land-use type and bark- and leaf-harvesting on population structure and fruit production of the baobab tree (Adansonia digitata L.) in a semi-arid savanna. West Africa. For Ecol Manag 260:2035–2044

    Article  Google Scholar 

  57. Sidibé M, Williams JT (2002) Baobab, Adansonia digitata L. International Centre for Underutilised Crops, UK

    Google Scholar 

  58. Sidibé M, Scheuring JF, Koné M, Schierle J, Frigg M (1998) A (and C) for Africa: the baobab tree as a source of vitamins. Agrofor Today 10:7–9

    Google Scholar 

  59. Smith GC, Clegg MS, Keen CL, Grivett LE (1996) Mineral values of selected plant foods common to Burkina Faso and to Niamey, Niger, West Africa. Int J Food Sci Nutr 47:41–53

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  60. Soloviev P, Niang TD, Gaye A, Totte A (2004) Variabilité des caractères physico-chimiques des fruits de trois espèces ligneuses de cueillette, récoltes au Sénégal: Adansonia digitata, Balanites aegyptiaca et Tamarindus indica. Fruits 59:109–119

    Article  Google Scholar 

  61. Teklehaimanot Z (2008) The role of indigenous fruit trees in sustainable dryland agriculture in Eastern Africa. In: Akinnifesi FK, Leakey RRB, Ajayi OC, Sileshi G, Tchoundjeu Z, Matakala P, Kwesiga FR (eds) Indigenous fruit trees in the tropics: domestication, utilization and commercialization. CAB International Publishing, USA

    Google Scholar 

  62. Venter SM, Witkowski ETF (2010) Baobab (Adansonia digitata L.) density, size-class distribution and population trends between four land-use types in northern Venda, South Africa. Forest Ecol Manag 259:294–300

    Article  Google Scholar 

  63. Wickens GE (1982) The baobab—Africa’s upside-down tree. Kew Bull 37:173–209

    Article  Google Scholar 

  64. Wickens GE (2004) Economic botany: principles and practices. Kluwer, The Netherlands

    Google Scholar 

  65. Wickens GE, Lowe P (2008) The baobabs: pachycauls of Africa, Madagascar and Australia. Springer, UK

    Book  Google Scholar 

  66. Wilson RT (1988) Vital statistics of the baobab (Adansonia digitata). Afr J Ecol 26:197–206

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

Survey work was supported by a scholarship from the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes (2001–2003) and a Feodor Lynen Research Fellowship (2003–2005) from the Alexander von Humboldt-Foundation (AvH) for the first author and within the framework of an Institutional Partnership Program (2006–2011) supported by the AvH, in which both authors were involved. We are very grateful to the rural people in Kordofan for sharing their knowledge about the baobab with us. Furthermore, special thanks to Dr Kamal Fadl from the Sudanese Agricultural Research Corporation (ARC) El Obeid Research Station and his family for local logistic support and hospitality.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to J. Gebauer.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Gebauer, J., Luedeling, E. A note on baobab (Adansonia digitata L.) in Kordofan, Sudan. Genet Resour Crop Evol 60, 1587–1596 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10722-013-9964-5

Download citation

Keywords

  • Adansonia digitata
  • Baobab
  • Domestication
  • Fruit characteristics
  • Population structure
  • Regeneration