Thursday, March 3, 2011

Baobab (Adansonia digitata)

         Genus Adansonia to which this tree belong has 6 species in Madagaskar, 2 in Australia and one species in tropical Africa. African species was introduced to Sri Lanka and naturalized in arid zone of the country. It is believed that it was introduced to Sri Lanka by Arab traders in several centuries ago. Here it grows in Mannar peninsula and opposite mainland, Delft island, Wilpaththu and Puththam. Trunk of it is hollowed out by African natives and made into houses, Fibers of the bark use to manufacture of ropes and young leaves as a vegetable. Pulp of the capsule contain tartaric acid and make a drink mix with water. Baobab has Tamil vernacular names – Perukku-Maran and Papparappuli. English Name  ‘Monkey bread tree’ since monkeys are fond of capsules. Aliyagaha – Sinhala name (Sri lanka wild life interlude vol l ) It is said that the tree in Pallimunai of Mannar island is the oldest and largest one of 800 years old. Local tradition is that this tree brought to SL by Arabs to feed their camels by its leaves. 

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