One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A short tree with an enormously thick trunk and large edible fruit. It can live to a great age.
- ‘Even the ostrich squawk as they make their way across the sandvelt to open marshlands and savannahs dotted with acacia, baobab trees and wild sage bushes.’
- ‘On the other hand, several tropical species of flowering plant, such as the African baobab tree and the Australian ironwood, rely on fruitbats to pollinate them.’
- ‘School children will pitch in to help staff at Johannesburg Zoo plant baobabs and false cabbage trees at the zoo on Arbor Day, Friday, 2 September, to celebrate national Arbor Week.’
- ‘Named after the African baobab tree, Vocal Baobab is one of the busiest and most popular folklore troupes in Havana, Cuba.’
- ‘By ten we're stripped to shorts and tee-shirts and have a coffee stop under a giant baobab, the tree Livingstone likened to an upturned carrot.’
Mid 17th century: probably from an African language; first recorded in Latin (1592), in a treatise on the plants of Egypt by the Italian botanist Prosper Alpinus.
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