Skip to main content

First record of baobab (Adansonia digitata L.) in Uganda

Abstract

The baobab (Adansonia digitata L.) is a remarkable key tree species with different uses in many African countries. International interest in the species has intensified in recent years. Despite the wide distribution of the baobab in many African regions, the tree has been reported to be absent in Uganda. In 2015 and 2016, research trips in the Central, Western, Eastern and Northern Regions of Uganda were conducted to screen the cultivated and natural flora for baobabs. As a result, four vigorous baobab trees aged 9 and 22 years were identified in two gardens in the Iganga and Soroti Districts in the Eastern Region of Uganda. The origins of the planting materials were Nyala in Sudan and Mombasa in Kenya. To our knowledge, these are the first scientific records of baobab in Uganda and some research questions and key propositions are formulated based on this discovery.

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

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4

References

  1. Agea JG, Obua J, Kaboggoza JR, Waiswa D (2007) Diversity of indigenous fruit trees in the traditional cotton-millet farming system: the case of Adwari Subcounty, Lira district, Uganda. Afr J Ecol 45:39–43

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Anjarwalla P, Ofori D, Owino A, Matuku D, Kehlenbeck K (2015) Testing different vegetative propagation methods for baobab (Adansonia digitata L.) to assist its domestication and promote cultivation. XIV World Forestry Congress in Durban, South Africa, pp 1–8

  3. Assogbadjo AE, Loo J (2011) Adansonia digitata, African baobab. Conservation and sustainable use of genetic resources of priority food tree species in sub-Saharan Africa. Bioversity International, Italy

    Google Scholar 

  4. Baum DA, Smith SD, Yen A, Alverson WS, Nyffeler R, Whitlock BA, Oldham RL (2004) Phylogenetic relationships of Malvatheca (Bombacoideae and Malvoideae; Malvaceae sensu lato) as inferred from plastid DNA sequences. Am J Bot 91:1863–1871

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  5. Beentje HJ (1989) Flora of tropical East Africa: Bombacaceae. Balkema, The Nederlands

    Google Scholar 

  6. Beentje HJ (1994) Kenya trees, shrubs and lianas. National Museums of Kenya, Kenya

    Google Scholar 

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

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Bosch CH, Sié K, Asafa BA (2004) Adansonia digitata L. In: Grubben GJH, Denton OA (eds) Plant resources of tropical Africa 2. Vegetables. PROTA Foundation. Backhuys Publishers, Netherlands

    Google Scholar 

  9. 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

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  10. Cuní Sanchez A, Osborne PE, Haq N (2010) Identifying the global potential for baobab tree cultivation using ecological niche modelling. Agrofor Syst 80:191–201

    Article  Google Scholar 

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

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Dharani N (2011) Field guide to common trees and shrubs of East Africa. Struik Nature, South Africa

    Google Scholar 

  13. 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 

  14. EC (2008) Commission decision: authorizing the placing on the market of baobab dried fruit pulp as a novel food ingredient under regulation (EC) No 258/97 of the European Parliament and of the Council. Off J EU L 183(38):1–2

    Google Scholar 

  15. Eilu G, Obua J, Tumuhaiwe JK, Nkwine C (2003) Traditional farming and plant species diversity in agricultural landscapes of south-western Uganda. Agric Ecosyst Environ 99:125–134

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Eilu G, Obua J, Tumuhaiwe JK, Nkwine C (2007) Conservation of indigenous plants outside protected areas in Tororo District, eastern Uganda. Afr J Ecol 45:73–78

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. El Amin HM (1990) Trees and shrubs of the Sudan. Ithaca Press, UK

    Google Scholar 

  18. FDA (2009) Agency response letter GRAS Notice No. GRN 000273, 25/July/2009. US Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/food/ingredientspackaginglabeling/gras/noticeinventory/ucm174945.htm. Accessed 27 Dec 2015

  19. Gebauer J (2005) Plant species diversity of home gardens in El Obeid, Central Sudan. J Agric Rural Dev Trop Subtrop 106:97–103

    Google Scholar 

  20. Gebauer J, El-Siddig K, Ebert G (2002) 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 

  21. Gebauer J, Assem A, Busch E, Hardtmann S, Möckel D, Krebs F, Ziegler T, Wichern F, Wiehle M, Kehlenbeck K (2014) Der Baobab (Adansonia digitata L.): Wildobst aus Afrika für Deutschland und Europa?! [The baobab (Adansonia digitata L.): wild African fruit for Germany and Europe?!]. Erwerbs-Obstbau 56:9–24

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Gebauer J, Adam YO, Cuní Sanchez A, Darr D, Eltahir MES, Fadl KEM, Fernsebner G, Frei M, Habte T-Y, Hammer K, Hunsche M, Johnson H, Kordofani M, Krawinkel M, Kugler F, Luedeling E, Mahmoud TE, Maina A, Mithöfer D, Munthali CRY, Noga F, North R, Owino WO, Prinz K, Rimberia FK, Saied A, Schüring M, Sennhenn A, Späth MA, Taha MEN, Triebel A, Wichern F, Wiehle M, Wrage-Mönnig N, Kehlenbeck K (2016) Africa’s wooden elephant: the baobab tree (Adansonia digitata L.) in Sudan and Kenya: a review. Genet Resour Crop Evol. doi:10.1007/s10722-015-0360-1

    Google Scholar 

  23. Geoview.info (2007) http://ug.geoview.info/baobab_tree,6250993p. Accessed 11 Aug 2015

  24. 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

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. 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 

  26. 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 For 41:317–335

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Kalema J, Beentje H (2012) Conservation checklist of the trees of Uganda. Kew Publishing Royal Botanic Gardens, UK

    Google Scholar 

  28. Kalinganire A, Weber J, Uwamariya A, Kone B (2007) Improving rural livelihoods through domestication of indigenous fruit trees in the parklands of the Sahel. In: Akinnifesi F, Leakey R, Ajayi O, Sileshi G, Tchoundjeu Z, Matakala P, Kwesiga F (eds) Indigenous fruit trees in the tropics: domestication, utilization and commercialization. CAB International Publishing, USA

    Google Scholar 

  29. Katende AB, Birnie A, Tengnas BO (1995) Useful trees and shrubs for Uganda: identification, propagation, and management for agricultural and pastoral communities. Regional Soil Consultants Unit, Kenya

    Google Scholar 

  30. Korbo A, Sanou H, Ræbild A, Jensen JS, Hansen JK, Kjær ED (2012) Comparison of East and West African populations of baobab (Adansonia digitata L.). Agrofor Syst 85:505–518

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Lim TK (2012) Edible medicinal and non-medicinal plants: volume 1, fruits. Springer, Netherlands

    Book  Google Scholar 

  32. McMullin S, Kehlenbeck K (2015) Untapped potential of baobab. Miti 26:16–17

    Google Scholar 

  33. Munthali CRY, Chirwa PW, Akinnifesi FK (2012) Genetic variation among and within provenances of Adansonia digitata L. (baobab) in seed germination and seedling growth from selected natural populations in Malawi. Agrofor Syst 86:419–431

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Murray SS, Schoeninger MJ, Bunn HT, Pickering TR, Marlett JA (2001) Nutritional composition of some wild plant foods and honey used by Hadza foragers of Tanzania. J Food Compos Anal 14:3–13

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Mwema CM, Mutai BK, Lagat JK, Kibet LK, Maina MC (2012) Contribution of selected indigenous fruits on household income and food security in Mwingi, Kenya. Curr Res J Soc Sci 4:425–430

    Google Scholar 

  36. NRC (2006) Lost crops of Africa. National Research Council, vol II. The National Academies Press, USA

    Google Scholar 

  37. Nussinovitch A (2010) Plant gum exudates of the world: sources, distribution, properties, and application. CRC Press, USA

    Google Scholar 

  38. Nyamukuru A, Nabatanzi A, Mpiira S, Tabuti JRS (2015) Locally preferred woody species and their management in Kiruhura and Arua districts, Uganda. Ethnobot Res App 14. doi:10.17348/era.14.0.049-061. Accessed 06 Jan 2016

  39. Oduol PA, Aluma JRW (1990) The banana (Musa spp.)—Coffea robusta: traditional agroforestry system of Uganda. Agrofor Syst 11:213–226

    Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Okullo JBL, Waithum G (2007) Diversity and conservation of on-farm woody plants by field types in Paromo Subcounty, Nebbi District, north-western Uganda. Afr J Ecol 45:59–66

    Article  Google Scholar 

  41. Okullo JBL, Obua J, Kaboggoza JRS, Alumu JRW (2003) Traditional agroforestry systems, tree uses and management in Northern Uganda. UJAS 8:5–10

    Google Scholar 

  42. Orwa C, Mutua A, Kindt R, Jamnadass R, Simons A (2009) Agroforestree Database: a tree reference and selection guide. Version 4.0. http://www.worldagroforestry.org/resources/databases/agroforestree. Accessed 27 Dec 2015

  43. 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 For 41:297–315

    Article  Google Scholar 

  44. Robinson J (2004) After the conflict: plant genetic resources of southern Sudan. Plant Genet Resour 2:85–97

    Article  Google Scholar 

  45. Ruffo CK, Birnie A, Tengnäs B (2002) Edible wild plants of Tanzania. Regional Land Management Unit (RELMA). English Press, Kenya

    Google Scholar 

  46. Sidibé M, Williams JT (2002) Baobab Adansonia digitata. International Centre for Under-utilised Crops, UK

    Google Scholar 

  47. Tabuti JRS (2012) Important woody plant species, their management and conservation status in Balawoli Sub-county, Uganda. Ethnobot Res Appl 10:269–286

    Article  Google Scholar 

  48. Tabuti JRS, Muwanika VB, Arinaitwe MZ, Ticktin T (2010) Conservation of priority woody species on farmlands: a case study from Nawaikoke Sub-county, Uganda. Appl Geogr 31:456–462

    Article  Google Scholar 

  49. Venter SM, Witkowski ETF (2013) Fruits of our labour: contribution of commercial baobab (Adansonia digitata L.) fruit harvesting to the livelihoods of marginalized people in northern Venda, South Africa. Agrofor Syst 187:159–172

    Article  Google Scholar 

  50. Von Maydell H-J (1990) Trees and shrubs of the Sahel: their characteristics and uses. Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH. Verlag Josef Margraf, Germany

    Google Scholar 

  51. Watson R (2007) The African baobab. Struik, South Africa

    Google Scholar 

  52. Whitney CW, Gebauer J (2014) Homegardens in Uganda; diversity and potential. In: Rahmann G, Aksoy U (eds) Building organic bridges. Proceedings of the 4th ISOFAR scientific conference at the organic world congress in Istanbul, Turkey, pp 1115–1118

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

    Article  Google Scholar 

  54. Wickens GE, Lowe P (2008) The baobabs: pachycauls of Africa. Springer, Madagascar

    Book  Google Scholar 

  55. Wiehle M, Prinz K, Kehlenbeck K, Goenster S, Mohamed SA, Finkeldey R, Buerkert A, Gebauer J (2014) The African baobab (Adansonia digitata L.)—genetic resources in neglected populations of the Nuba Mountains, Sudan. Am J Bot 101:1489–1507

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

This study was part of the subproject 4, work package 2 (031A247B) within the collaborative research project “Reduction of Post-Harvest Losses and Value Addition in East African Food Value Chains” (RELOAD) of the initiative “GlobE—Research for the Global Food Supply” of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). We are also grateful to Antonia Nyamukuru, PhD candidate at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda and Sebastian Walaita Javan affiliated with Delight Uganda Ltd. in Kampala, Uganda for collecting information on promising study locations. To Richard Bawonga we are thankful for driving us safely all the 4975 km through Uganda. Furthermore, we also acknowledge the support of Dr Eike Luedeling affiliated with the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) in Nairobi, Kenya and the Center for Development Research (ZEF) in Bonn, Germany for creating the Uganda map (Fig. 1).

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jens Gebauer.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Gebauer, J., Whitney, C.W. & Tabuti, J.R.S. First record of baobab (Adansonia digitata L.) in Uganda. Genet Resour Crop Evol 63, 755–762 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10722-016-0387-y

Download citation

Keywords

  • Adansonia digitata
  • Baobab
  • East Africa
  • Fruit tree
  • Malvaceae
  • Uganda