As we should all know by now, South Africa is home to one of the most diverse biological ecosystems in the world. When it comes to tree life, no one does it like we do. From the ancient Baobab trees of our dry lands to the symbolic Marula trees of our rustic woodlands, our nation is home to a myriad of trees that play crucial roles to this day. So, it’s only natural to ask the question: “which one of these trees is the biggest?” We’re glad you asked!
The Adansonia digitata
You will rarely hear a conversation about prestigious African trees without mention of the ancient Baobab trees that are native to the dry, hot and humid areas of Limpopo. While the Baobab isn’t only indigenous to South Africa, they have become some of the most useful and iconic trees in South Africa’s history.
With many of them having lived for up to 3000 years, the Baobab is the biggest tree in South Africa and can grow to heights of up to 20 metres. They can be found close to Zwigodini, Vendaland in the Limpopo Province. The Baobab has a rich history in Africa and is shrouded in myths and legends that have granted its species a legendary status in the African continent.
Under section 15 of the National Forests Act, several Baobabs are protected against any harm that people may bring to it. The Act states that no person may cut, disturb, damage or destroy any tree that is protected, nor may they remove, transport, export, purchase or sell any protected tree without special permission from the relevant ministry. This could be a problem of sorts for natives who have relied on the Baobab for several things, including medicine and fibres.
What can the Baobab be used for?
The bark of Baobab trees can be used as fibres to make garments, ropes, baskets and musical instruments. Natives have used this bark for centuries to create several kinds of clothes and ornaments that still have value to this day.
Fresh baobab leaves can also be eaten as vegetables as they provide a similar nutritional value as spinach. The leaves can also be used to create several kinds of concoctions that can treat ailments such as insect bites, asthma and kidney disease.
If you’d like to learn more about these legendary Baobab trees, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us – we look forward to hearing from you!