New Forests

, Volume 41, Issue 1, pp 113–125 | Cite as

Natural variation in fruit characteristics, seed germination and seedling growth of Adansonia digitata L. in Benin

  • A. E. Assogbadjo
  • R. Glèlè Kakaï
  • S. Edon
  • T. Kyndt
  • B. Sinsin


Adansonia digitata (baobab tree), a multipurpose tree species, occurs throughout semi-arid and arid zones of Africa. Its survival is, however, threatened by bush fire, over-exploitation, grazing and a lack of natural regeneration. The extent of variation in fruit characteristics, seed germination and seedling traits of the baobab tree in Benin, was evaluated at climatic zone level. 1,200 fruits were sampled in each of the three climatic zones of Benin for morphological assessment and to assess germination rate and seedling growth dynamics according to the climatic zones, the used substrate and the scarification of the seed coat. There were significant differences in fruit characteristics not only between climatic zones but also between individuals from the same zone and within-trees. Using mechanical scarification on freshly-collected baobab seeds negatively affected the germination rate of baobab seeds sampled in the Guinean and Sudano-Guinean zones of Benin. The best-germination rate was recorded for non-treated seeds from the Guinean zone, up to 57% on day 25. All seeds germinated best on the sand substrate, but supplying organic matter promoted further seedling growth after 11 days of germination. Based on these observations we propose some strategies for efficient ex situ conservation of baobab in Benin.


Climatic zones Seed scarification Germination substrate 



This work is financially supported by the International Foundation for Science (IFS) provided to Dr. Ir. Achille Assogbadjo in 2006. We thank IFS and its donors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. E. Assogbadjo
    • 1
  • R. Glèlè Kakaï
    • 1
  • S. Edon
    • 1
  • T. Kyndt
    • 2
  • B. Sinsin
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Applied Ecology, Faculty of Agronomic SciencesUniversity of Abomey-CalaviCotonouBenin
  2. 2.Department of Molecular Biotechnology, Faculty of Bioscience EngineeringGhent University (UGent)GhentBelgium

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