Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Adansonia digitata L., Sp. Pl. 1190. 1753; Masters in., Fl. Brit. India 1: 348.1874.

Beng.: Gadhagachh; Hindi: Gorak amli; Tam.: Papparappuli; Tel.: Simachinta; Eng.: The Baobab or Monkey Bread Tree.

Trees, up to 25 m tall, deciduous; trunk short, thick up to 10 m in diam., abruptly tapering into thick branches, branches spreading, pubescent when young; bark usually smooth, greyish. Leaves usually gathered near tips of branchlets, digitate, 4 - 7-foliolate; petioles 10 - 25 cm long, pubescent when young, some- times glabrous; leaflets sessile to subsessile, ca 15 x 7 cm, oblong to obovate, cuneate and decurrent at base, gradually caudate-acuminate at apex, entire, tufted pubescent when young. Flowers showy, solitary, axillary, pendulous; peduncles ca 90 cm long, tomentose; bracteoles 2; flower buds globose to ovoid-elliptical, acute. Calyx triangular, acute at apex, sericeous inside, tomentose outside. Petals 5, 7 - 9 x 6 - 8 cm, obovate to flabelliform, rounded at apex, unguiculate; white becoming brown when dry, glabrous or sparsely hairy outside, adnate to the base of staminal tube. Staminal tube 5 - 7 cm long, cylindrical to conical, glabrous, divided above into numerous, slender filaments as long as tube; anthers 2 mm long, reniform. Ovary 5 - 10-loculed, hirsute, ovules many in each locule; styles 1 - 1.5 cm long, exserted, hirsute at base; stigmas 5 - 10-lobed, lobes oblong, radiating. Capsules 20 - 40 cm long, oblong to oblong-ovoid, woody, longitudinally sulcate, acute at base, rounded at apex, indehiscent, 6 - 12 cm in diam., velvety tomentose outside. Seeds many, reniform, dark brown, embedded in farinaceous pulp, testa thick; albumen scanty; embryo curved; cotyledons contorted

Fl. April - May; Fr. Sept. - Oct.

Cultivated in various parts of India, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Gu-jarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu; Usually planted ,in gardens and near tombs of Muslim saints.

Native of tropical Africa.

Notes. All the known uses are reported from its original home in tropical Africa. The Wood is light and soft. Owing to excessive thickness of the soft trunk, the natives in Africa hollow it and use as dwelling house. The bark yields fibre used for making ropes, young leaves are eaten as vegetable and a prophylatic against fever. Capsules are used as floats for fishing nets. The fruit pulp is also used as remedy in dysentry.

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