Botany called plant science, plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist; the term "botany" comes from the Ancient Greek word βοτάνη meaning "pasture", "grass", or "fodder". Traditionally, botany has included the study of fungi and algae by mycologists and phycologists with the study of these three groups of organisms remaining within the sphere of interest of the International Botanical Congress. Nowadays, botanists study 410,000 species of land plants of which some 391,000 species are vascular plants, 20,000 are bryophytes. Botany originated in prehistory as herbalism with the efforts of early humans to identify – and cultivate – edible and poisonous plants, making it one of the oldest branches of science. Medieval physic gardens attached to monasteries, contained plants of medical importance, they were forerunners of the first botanical gardens attached to universities, founded from the 1540s onwards.
One of the earliest was the Padua botanical garden. These gardens facilitated the academic study of plants. Efforts to catalogue and describe their collections were the beginnings of plant taxonomy, led in 1753 to the binomial system of Carl Linnaeus that remains in use to this day. In the 19th and 20th centuries, new techniques were developed for the study of plants, including methods of optical microscopy and live cell imaging, electron microscopy, analysis of chromosome number, plant chemistry and the structure and function of enzymes and other proteins. In the last two decades of the 20th century, botanists exploited the techniques of molecular genetic analysis, including genomics and proteomics and DNA sequences to classify plants more accurately. Modern botany is a broad, multidisciplinary subject with inputs from most other areas of science and technology. Research topics include the study of plant structure and differentiation, reproduction and primary metabolism, chemical products, diseases, evolutionary relationships and plant taxonomy.
Dominant themes in 21st century plant science are molecular genetics and epigenetics, which are the mechanisms and control of gene expression during differentiation of plant cells and tissues. Botanical research has diverse applications in providing staple foods, materials such as timber, rubber and drugs, in modern horticulture and forestry, plant propagation and genetic modification, in the synthesis of chemicals and raw materials for construction and energy production, in environmental management, the maintenance of biodiversity. Botany originated as the study and use of plants for their medicinal properties. Many records of the Holocene period date early botanical knowledge as far back as 10,000 years ago; this early unrecorded knowledge of plants was discovered in ancient sites of human occupation within Tennessee, which make up much of the Cherokee land today. The early recorded history of botany includes many ancient writings and plant classifications. Examples of early botanical works have been found in ancient texts from India dating back to before 1100 BC, in archaic Avestan writings, in works from China before it was unified in 221 BC.
Modern botany traces its roots back to Ancient Greece to Theophrastus, a student of Aristotle who invented and described many of its principles and is regarded in the scientific community as the "Father of Botany". His major works, Enquiry into Plants and On the Causes of Plants, constitute the most important contributions to botanical science until the Middle Ages seventeen centuries later. Another work from Ancient Greece that made an early impact on botany is De Materia Medica, a five-volume encyclopedia about herbal medicine written in the middle of the first century by Greek physician and pharmacologist Pedanius Dioscorides. De Materia Medica was read for more than 1,500 years. Important contributions from the medieval Muslim world include Ibn Wahshiyya's Nabatean Agriculture, Abū Ḥanīfa Dīnawarī's the Book of Plants, Ibn Bassal's The Classification of Soils. In the early 13th century, Abu al-Abbas al-Nabati, Ibn al-Baitar wrote on botany in a systematic and scientific manner. In the mid-16th century, "botanical gardens" were founded in a number of Italian universities – the Padua botanical garden in 1545 is considered to be the first, still in its original location.
These gardens continued the practical value of earlier "physic gardens" associated with monasteries, in which plants were cultivated for medical use. They supported the growth of botany as an academic subject. Lectures were given about the plants grown in the gardens and their medical uses demonstrated. Botanical gardens came much to northern Europe. Throughout this period, botany remained subordinate to medicine. German physician Leonhart Fuchs was one of "the three German fathers of botany", along with theologian Otto Brunfels and physician Hieronymus Bock. Fuchs and Brunfels broke away from the tradition of copying earlier works to make original observations of their own. Bock created his own system of plant classification. Physician Valerius Cordus authored a botanically and pharmacologically important herbal Historia Plantarum in 1544 and a pharmacopoeia of lasting importance, the Dispensatorium
Ficus benghalensis known as the banyan, banyan fig and Indian banyan, is a tree native to the Indian Subcontinent. Specimens in India are among the largest trees in the world by canopy coverage. Ficus benghalensis produces propagating roots. Once these roots reach the ground they grow into woody trunks; the figs produced by the tree are eaten by birds such as the Indian myna. Fig seeds that pass through the digestive system of birds are more to germinate and sprout earlier. Ficus benghalensis is the national tree of India; the tree is considered sacred in India, temples are built beneath. Due to the large size of the tree's canopy it provides useful shade in hot climates. In Theravada Buddhism, this tree is said to have been used as the tree for achieved enlightenment, or Bodhi by the twenty fourth Buddha called "Kassapa - කස්සප"; the sacred plant is known as "Nuga - නුග" or "Maha nuga - මහ නුග" in Sri Lanka. See List of Banyan trees in India for a more complete listThe giant banyans of India are the largest trees in the world by area of canopy coverage.
Multiple individual trees have achieved notoriety: Thimmamma Marrimanu Kabirvad The Great BanyanThe largest, known specimen of tree in the world in terms of the two dimensional area covered by its canopy is Thimmamma Marrimanu in Andhra Pradesh, which covers 19,107 m2. This tree is the largest, known specimen of tree in the world in terms of the length of its perimeter, which measures 846 m. Nearchus, an admiral of Alexander the Great, described a large specimen on the banks of the Narmada River in contemporary Bharuch, India; the canopy of the specimen which Nearchus described was so extensive. James Forbes described it in his Oriental Memoirs as 610 m in circumference and having more than 3,000 trunks; the area of its canopy is 17,520 m2 with a perimeter of 641 m. Other notable Indian specimens include The Great Banyan in the Jagadish Chandra Bose Botanic Garden in Shibpur, which has a canopy area of 18,918 m2 and is about 250 years old, Dodda Aladha Mara in Kettohalli, which has a canopy area of 12,000 m2 and is about 400 years old.
Dhanya, B.. "Does litterfall from native trees support rainfed agriculture? Analysis of Ficus trees in agroforestry systems of southern dry agroclimatic zone of Karnataka, southern India". Journal of Forestry Research. 24: 333–338. Doi:10.1007/s11676-013-0357-6. Bar or Bargad Ficus benghalensis L. Horticulture, Purdue University Ficus benghalensis in Himalayas, Nepal. Himalayas: photos, pictures
The Mesozoic Era is an interval of geological time from about 252 to 66 million years ago. It is called the Age of Reptiles and the Age of Conifers; the Mesozoic is one of three geologic eras of the Phanerozoic Eon, preceded by the Paleozoic and succeeded by the Cenozoic. The era is subdivided into three major periods: the Triassic and Cretaceous, which are further subdivided into a number of epochs and stages; the era began in the wake of the Permian–Triassic extinction event, the largest well-documented mass extinction in Earth's history, ended with the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event, another mass extinction whose victims included the non-avian dinosaurs. The Mesozoic was a time of significant tectonic and evolutionary activity; the era witnessed the gradual rifting of the supercontinent Pangaea into separate landmasses that would move into their current positions during the next era. The climate of the Mesozoic was varied, alternating between cooling periods. Overall, the Earth was hotter than it is today.
Dinosaurs first appeared in the Mid-Triassic, became the dominant terrestrial vertebrates in the Late Triassic or Early Jurassic, occupying this position for about 150 or 135 million years until their demise at the end of the Cretaceous. Birds first appeared in the Jurassic; the first mammals appeared during the Mesozoic, but would remain small—less than 15 kg —until the Cenozoic. The flowering plants arose in the Triassic or Jurassic and came to prominence in the late Cretaceous when they replaced the conifers and other gymnosperms as the dominant trees; the phrase "Age of Reptiles" was introduced by the 19th century paleontologist Gideon Mantell who viewed it as dominated by diapsids such as Iguanodon, Megalosaurus and Pterodactylus. Mesozoic means "middle life", deriving from the Greek prefix meso-/μεσο- for "between" and zōon/ζῷον meaning "animal" or "living being"; the name "Mesozoic" was proposed in 1840 by the British geologist John Phillips. Following the Paleozoic, the Mesozoic extended 186 million years, from 251.902 to 66 million years ago when the Cenozoic Era began.
This time frame is separated into three geologic periods. From oldest to youngest: Triassic Jurassic Cretaceous The lower boundary of the Mesozoic is set by the Permian–Triassic extinction event, during which 90% to 96% of marine species and 70% of terrestrial vertebrates became extinct, it is known as the "Great Dying" because it is considered the largest mass extinction in the Earth's history. The upper boundary of the Mesozoic is set at the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event, which may have been caused by an asteroid impactor that created Chicxulub Crater on the Yucatán Peninsula. Towards the Late Cretaceous, large volcanic eruptions are believed to have contributed to the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event. 50% of all genera became extinct, including all of the non-avian dinosaurs. The Triassic ranges from 252 million to 201 million years ago, preceding the Jurassic Period; the period is bracketed between the Permian–Triassic extinction event and the Triassic–Jurassic extinction event, two of the "big five", it is divided into three major epochs: Early and Late Triassic.
The Early Triassic, about 252 to 247 million years ago, was dominated by deserts in the interior of the Pangaea supercontinent. The Earth had just witnessed a massive die-off in which 95% of all life became extinct, the most common vertebrate life on land were lystrosaurus and euparkeria along with many other creatures that managed to survive the Permian extinction. Temnospondyls would be the dominant predator for much of the Triassic; the Middle Triassic, from 247 to 237 million years ago, featured the beginnings of the breakup of Pangaea and the opening of the Tethys Sea. Ecosystems had recovered from the Permian extinction. Algae, sponge and crustaceans all had recovered, new aquatic reptiles evolved, such as ichthyosaurs and nothosaurs. On land, pine forests flourished, as did groups of insects like mosquitoes and fruit flies. Reptiles began to get bigger and bigger, the first crocodilians and dinosaurs evolved, which sparked competition with the large amphibians that had ruled the freshwater world mammal-like reptiles on land.
Following the bloom of the Middle Triassic, the Late Triassic, from 237 to 201 million years ago, featured frequent heat spells and moderate precipitation. The recent warming led to a boom of dinosaurian evolution on land as those one began to separate from each other, as well as first pterosaurs. During the Late Triassic, some advanced cynodonts gave rise to the first Mammaliaformes. All this climatic change, resulted in a large die-out known as the Triassic-Jurassic extinction event, in which many archosaurs, most synapsids, all large amphibians became extinct, as well as 34% of marine life, in the Earth's fourth mass extinction event; the cause is debatable. The Jurassic ranges from 200 million years to 145 million years ago and features three major epochs: The Early Jurassic, the Middle Jurassic, the L
Eucalyptus regnans, known variously as mountain ash, swamp gum, or stringy gum, is a species of Eucalyptus native to Tasmania and the state of Victoria in southeastern Australia. It is the tallest flowering plant and one of the tallest trees in the world, second only to the coast redwood of North America. A straight-trunked tree with smooth grey bark, but with a stocking of rough brown bark from 5 to 20 metres above the ground, it grows to 85 metres, with the tallest living specimen, the Centurion in Tasmania, standing 100.5 metres tall. White flowers appear in autumn. Victorian botanist Ferdinand von Mueller described the species in 1871. Eucalyptus regnans grows in pure stands in tall wet forest, sometimes with rainforest understorey, in temperate areas receiving over 1,200 millimetres of rainfall a year, on deep loam soils. A large number of the trees have been logged, including those higher than trees of any species now living. One specimen over 132 metres high was recorded in Victoria. Although it is killed by bushfire, Eucalyptus regnans regenerates from seed and has a lifespan of several hundred years.
Mature Eucalyptus regnans-dominated forests have been found to store more carbon than any other forest known. Known in the timber industry as Tasmanian oak, E. regnans is logged for its wood, grown in plantations in New Zealand and Chile as well as Australia. Victorian botanist Ferdinand von Mueller described Eucalyptus regnans in 1871, using the Latin regnans "ruling" as its species epithet, he noted: "This species or variety, which might be called Eucalyptus regnans, represents the loftiest tree in British Territory." However, until 1882 he considered the tree to be a variety of Eucalyptus amygdalina and called it thus, not using the binomial name Eucalyptus regnans until the Systematic Census of Australian Plants in 1882, giving it a formal diagnosis in 1888 in Volume 1 of the Key to the System of Victorian Plants, where he describes it as "stupendously tall". Von Mueller did not designate a type specimen, nor did he use the name Eucalyptus regnans on his many collections of "White Mountain Ash" at the Melbourne Herbarium.
Victorian botanist Jim Willis selected a lectotype in 1967, one of the more complete collections of a specimen from the Dandenong Ranges, that von Mueller had noted was one "of the tall trees measured by Mr D. Boyle in March 1867."Genetic testing across its range of chloroplast DNA by Paul Nevill and colleagues yielded 41 haplotypes, divided broadly into Victorian and Tasmanian groups, but showing distinct profiles for some areas such as East Gippsland, north-eastern and south-eastern Tasmania, suggesting the species had persisted in these areas during the Last Glacial Maximum and recolonised others. There was some sharing of haplotype between populations of the Otway Ranges and north-western Tasmania, suggesting this was the most area for gene flow between the mainland and Tasmania in the past. Eucalyptus regnans is known as the mountain ash, due to the resemblance of its wood to that of the northern hemisphere ash. Swamp gum is a name given to it in Tasmania, as well as stringy gum in northern Tasmania.
Other common names include giant ash, stringy gum, swamp gum and Tasmanian oak. Von Mueller called it the "Giant gum-tree" and "Spurious blackbutt" in his 1888 Key to the System of Victorian Plants; the timber has been known as "Tasmanian oak", because early settlers likened the strength of its wood that of English oak. The brown barrel is a close relative, the two sharing the rare trait of paired inflorescences arising from axillary buds. Botanist Ian Brooker classified the two in the series Regnantes; the latter species differs in having brown fibrous bark all the way up its trunk, was long classified as a subspecies of E. regnans. The series lies in the section Eucalyptus of the subgenus Eucalyptus within the genus Eucalyptus. Hybridisation with messmate is not uncommon and has been recorded from several sites in Victoria and Tasmania. Hybrids with red stringybark occur in the Cathedral Range in Victoria; these trees resemble E. regnans in appearance. They have the oil composition of E. macrorhyncha.
An evergreen tree, Eucalyptus regnans is the tallest of the eucalypts, growing to 70–114.4 m, with a straight, grey trunk, smooth-barked except for the rough basal 5–20 metres. Mature trees have long strips of bark hanging from the trunk; the trunk reaches a diameter of 2.5 metres at breast height, develops a large buttress. Some individuals attain much greater diameter; as a consequence of being both the tallest and thickest Australian trees, E. regnans is the most massive. The crown is small in relation to the size of the rest of the tree. Arranged alternately along the stems, the adult leaves are falcate to lanceolate, 9–14 centimetres long and 1.5–2.5 centimetres broad, with a long acuminate apex and smooth margin, green to grey-green
Sequoioideae, popularly known as Redwoods, is a subfamily of coniferous trees within the family Cupressaceae. It is most common in the coastal forests of Northern California; the three redwood subfamily genera are Sequoia and Sequoiadendron of California and Oregon, United States. The redwood species contains tallest trees in the world; these trees can live thousands of years. This is an endangered subfamily due to habitat losses from fire ecology suppression and air pollution. Other threats to its existence include: climate change, illegal marijuana cultivation, burl poaching. Only two of the genera and Sequoiadendron, are known for massive trees. Metasequoia, with the living species Metasequoia glyptostroboides, are much smaller. Multiple studies of both morphological and molecular characters have supported the assertion that the Sequoioideae are monophyletic. Most modern phylogenies place Sequoia as sister to Metasequoia as the out-group. However, Yang et al. went on to investigate the origin of a peculiar genetic artifact of the Sequoioideae—the polyploidy of Sequoia—and generated a notable exception that calls into question the specifics of this relative consensus.
Polyploidy has come to be understood as quite common in plants—with estimates ranging from 47% to 100% of flowering plants and extant ferns having derived from ancient polyploidy. Within the gymnosperms however it is quite rare. Sequoia sempervirens is hexaploid. To investigate the origins of this polyploidy Yang et al. used two single copy nuclear genes, LFY and NLY, to generate phylogenetic trees. Other researchers have had success with these genes in similar studies on different taxa. Several hypotheses have been proposed to explain the origin of Sequoia's polyploidy: allopolyploidy by hybridization between Metasequoia and some extinct taxodiaceous plant. Yang et al. found that Sequoia was clustered with Metasequoia in the tree generated using the LFY gene, but with Sequoiadendron in the tree generated with the NLY gene. Further analysis supported the hypothesis that Sequoia was the result of a hybridization event involving Metasequoia and Sequoiadendron. Thus, Yang et al. hypothesize that the inconsistent relationships among Metasequoia and Sequoiadendron could be a sign of reticulate evolution among the three genera.
However, the long evolutionary history of the three genera make resolving the specifics of when and how Sequoia originated once and for all a difficult matter—especially since it in part depends on an incomplete fossil record. The native habitat of Metasequoia glyptostroboides in Chongqing municipality in south-central China; the native habitat of Sequoiadendron giganteum trees is only on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada range of California. The native habitat of Sequoia sempervirens trees is only in the Northern California coastal forests ecoregion, on the Northern California coast and several miles into Oregon. Sequoioideae is an ancient taxon, with the oldest described Sequoioideae species, Sequoia jeholensis, recovered from Jurassic deposits. A genus Medulloprotaxodioxylon, reported from the late Triassic of China supports the idea of a Norian origin; the fossil record shows a massive expansion of range in the Cretaceous and dominance of the Arcto-Tertiary flora in northern latitudes.
Genera of Sequoioideae were found in the Arctic Circle, North America, throughout Asia and Japan. A general cooling trend beginning in the late Eocene and Oligocene reduced the northern ranges of the Sequoioideae, as did subsequent ice ages. Evolutionary adaptations to ancient environments persist in all three species despite changing climate and associated flora. Especially the specific demands of their reproduction ecology that forced each of the species into refugial ranges where they could survive; the entire subfamily is endangered. The IUCN Red List Category & Criteria assesses Sequoia Sempervirens as Endangered, Sequoiadendron giganteum as Endangered and Metasequoia glyptostroboides as Endangered; the two California redwood species, since the early 19th century, the Chinese redwood species since 1948, have been cultivated horticulturally far beyond their native habitats. They are found in botanical gardens, public parks, private landscapes in many similar climates worldwide. Plantings outside their native ranges are found in California, the coastal Northwestern and Eastern United States, areas of China, the United Kingdom and near Rotorua New Zealand.
They are used in educational projects recreating the look of the megaflora of the Pleistocene landscape. Temperate Cloud forest of North America Westcoast List of superlative trees "About the trees". National Park Service. Retrieved 10 January 2014. "A few basic facts about Redwoods, Parks". National Park Service. Retrieved 10 January 2014. "Calaveras Big Trees Association". Retrieved 10 January 2014. Hanks, Doug. "Crescent Ridge Dawn Redwood Preserve". Retrieved 10 January 2014. de:Liste der dicksten Mammutbäume in Deutschland. List of Large Giant Redwoods in Germany IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. Downloaded on 10 January 2014. James Donald, John Rubin. Climbing Redwood Giants. National Geographic. "Big trees". Notes from the Field tv. 6 minutes in. PBS. Retrieved 10 January 2014
Sequoia sempervirens is the sole living species of the genus Sequoia in the cypress family Cupressaceae. Common names include coastal redwood and California redwood, it is an evergreen, long-lived, monoecious tree living 1,200 -- more. This species includes the tallest living trees on Earth, reaching up to 379 feet in height and up to 29.2 feet in diameter at breast height. These trees are among the oldest living things on Earth. Before commercial logging and clearing began by the 1850s, this massive tree occurred in an estimated 2,100,000 acres along much of coastal California and the southwestern corner of coastal Oregon within the United States; the name sequoia sometimes refers to the subfamily Sequoioideae, which includes S. sempervirens along with Sequoiadendron and Metasequoia. Here, the term redwood on its own refers to the species covered in this article, not to the other two species. Scottish botanist David Don described the redwood as the evergreen taxodium in his colleague Aylmer Bourke Lambert's 1824 work A description of the genus Pinus.
Austrian botanist Stephan Endlicher erected the genus Sequoia in his 1847 work Synopsis coniferarum, giving the redwood its current binomial name of Sequoia sempervirens. Endlicher derived the name Sequoia from the Cherokee name of George Gist spelled Sequoyah, who developed the still-used Cherokee syllabary; the redwood is one of each in its own genus, in the subfamily Sequoioideae. Molecular studies have shown that the three are each other's closest relatives with the redwood and giant sequoia as each other's closest relatives; however and colleagues in 2010 queried the polyploid state of the redwood and speculate that it may have arisen as an ancient hybrid between ancestors of the giant sequoia and dawn redwood. Using two different single copy nuclear genes, LFY and NLY, to generate phylogenetic trees, they found that Sequoia was clustered with Metasequoia in the tree generated using the LFY gene, but with Sequoiadendron in the tree generated with the NLY gene. Further analysis supported the hypothesis that Sequoia was the result of a hybridization event involving Metasequoia and Sequoiadendron.
Thus and colleagues hypothesize that the inconsistent relationships among Metasequoia and Sequoiadendron could be a sign of reticulate evolution among the three genera. However, the long evolutionary history of the three genera make resolving the specifics of when and how Sequoia originated once and for all a difficult matter—especially since it in part depends on an incomplete fossil record; the coast redwood can reach 115 m tall with a trunk diameter of 9 m. It has a conical crown, with horizontal to drooping branches; the bark can be thick, up to 1-foot, quite soft and fibrous, with a bright red-brown color when freshly exposed, weathering darker. The root system is composed of wide-spreading lateral roots; the leaves are variable, being 15–25 mm long and flat on young trees and shaded shoots in the lower crown of old trees. On the other hand, they are scale-like, 5–10 mm long on shoots in full sun in the upper crown of older trees, with a full range of transition between the two extremes.
They have two blue-white stomatal bands below. Leaf arrangement is spiral, but the larger shade leaves are twisted at the base to lie in a flat plane for maximum light capture; the species is monoecious, with seed cones on the same plant. The seed cones are ovoid, 15–32 mm long, with 15–25 spirally arranged scales; each cone scale bears three to seven seeds, each seed 3–4 mm long and 0.5 mm broad, with two wings 1 mm wide. The seeds are open at maturity; the pollen cones are 4 -- 6 mm long. Its genetic makeup is unusual among conifers, being a hexaploid and allopolyploid. Both the mitochondrial and chloroplast genomes of the redwood are paternally inherited. Coast redwoods occupy a narrow strip of land 750 km in length and 5–47 mi in width along the Pacific coast of North America; the prevailing elevation range is 98–2,460 ft above sea level down to 0 and up to 3,000 ft. They grow in the mountains where precipitation from the incoming moisture off the ocean is greater; the tallest and oldest trees are found in deep valleys and gullies, where year-round streams can flow, fog drip is regular.
The trees above the fog layer, above about 2,296 ft, are shorter and smaller due to the drier and colder conditions. In addition, Douglas fir and tanoak crowd out redwoods at these elevations. Few redwoods grow close to the ocean, due to intense salt spray and wind. Coalescence of coastal fog accounts for a considerable part of the trees' water needs; the northern boundary of its range is marked by groves on the Chetco River on the western fringe of the Klamath Mountains, near the California-Oregon border. The largest populations are in Redwood National and State Parks (Del Norte and Humbo
Adansonia digitata, the baobab, is the most widespread tree species of the genus Adansonia, the baobabs, is native to the African continent. The long-lived pachycauls are found in dry, hot savannahs of sub-Saharan Africa, where they dominate the landscape, reveal the presence of a watercourse from afar, their growth rate is determined by ground water or rainfall, their maximum age, subject to much conjecture, seems to be in the order of 1,500 years. They have traditionally been valued as sources of food, health remedies or places of shelter and are steeped in legend and superstition. European explorers of old were inclined to carve their names on baobabs, many are defaced by modern graffiti. Common names for the baobab include dead-rat tree, monkey-bread tree, upside-down tree and cream of tartar tree; the vernacular name "baobab" is derived from Arabic بو حِباب, which means "father of many seeds". The scientific name Adansonia refers to the French explorer and botanist, Michel Adanson, who observed a specimen in 1749 on the island of Sor, Senegal.
On the nearby Îles des Madeleines Adanson found another baobab, 3.8 m in diameter, which bore the carvings of passing mariners on its trunk, including those of Henry the Navigator in 1444 and André Thevet in 1555. When Théodore Monod searched the island in the 20th century, the tree was not to be found however. Adanson concluded that the baobab, of all the trees he studied, “is the most useful tree in all.” He consumed baobab juice twice a day. He remained convinced. "Digitata" refers to the digits of the hand. The baobab's compound leaves with five leaflets are akin to a hand; the trees grow as solitary individuals, are large and distinctive elements of savannah or scrubland vegetation. Some large individuals live to well over a thousand years of age. All baobab trees are deciduous, losing their leaves in the dry season, remain leafless for nine months of the year, they can grow to between 5–25 m in height. They are in fact known both for trunk's girth; the trunk can reach a diameter of 10 -- 14 m.
The span of the roots exceed the tree's height, a factor that enables it to survive in a dry climate. Many consider the tree to be “upside-down” due to the trunk likeness to a taproot and the branches akin to finer capillary roots; the trunk can range from being reddish brown to grey. The bark can feel cork-like; the branches are thick and wide and stout compared to the trunk. During the early summer the tree bears large, white flowers; these are open during the late afternoon to stay open for one night. The pendulous, showy flowers have a large number of stamens, they have a sweet scent but emit a carrion smell when they turn brown and fall after 24 hours. Researchers have shown that they appear to be pollinated by fruit bats of the subfamily Pteropodinae; the flowers have 5 petals that are hairy on the inside. The sepals are 5-cleft; the stamens are divided into multiple anthers and styles are 7-10 rayed. The indehiscent fruit are large, egg-shaped capsules, they are filled with pulp that dries and falls to pieces which look like chunks of powdery, dry bread.
The seed are hard and kidney-shaped. The northern limit of its distribution in Africa is associated with rainfall patterns. On the Atlantic coast, this may be due to spreading after cultivation, its occurrence is limited in Central Africa, it is found only in the north of South Africa. In Eastern Africa, the trees grow in shrublands and on the coast. In Angola and Namibia, the baobabs grow in woodlands, in coastal regions, in addition to savannahs, it is found in Dhofar region of Oman and Yemen in the Arabian Peninsula, Western Asia. This tree is found in India in the dry regions of the country, in Penang, along certain streets; the baobab is native to most of Africa in drier, less tropical climates. It is not found in areas, it is sensitive to frost. More specifically: Mauritania, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Togo, Niger, Nigeria, n-Cameroon, Sudan, Congo, DR Congo, Ethiopia, s-Somalia, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Angola, São Tomé, Príncipe isl. Annobon isl. Java, Sri Lanka, Jamaica, South Africa, Botswana, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Seychelles, Comores, India, sw-Yemen, China, Fujian, Yunnan.
Adansonia trees produce faint growth rings annually, but they are not reliable for aging specimens, because they are difficult to count and may fade away as the wood ages. Radiocarbon dating has provided data on a few individuals of A. digitata. The Panke baobab in Zimbabwe was some 2,450 years old when it died in 2011, making it the oldest angiosperm documented, two other trees — Dorslandboom in Namibia and Glencoe in South Africa — were estimated to be 2,000 years old. Another specimen known as Grootboom was dat