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

Abstract

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.

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Acknowledgments

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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Gebauer, J., Adam, Y.O., Sanchez, A.C. et al. Africa’s wooden elephant: the baobab tree (Adansonia digitata L.) in Sudan and Kenya: a review. Genet Resour Crop Evol 63, 377–399 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10722-015-0360-1

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Keywords

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