The Life of the Baobab tree

This is pretty amazing.

Now, just to say, I come from northern California where we have Redwood trees that are thousands of years old. I have great love and respect for ancient trees and never thought that there were many other trees in the world that were of the same stature. I know that in many places in Africa, people have the same sense of reverence for the baobab tree, but I never really understood why.

Take a look at these two photos. One is of a young Baobab tree and one a full-grown Baobab tree (the one I see out my front door). When I was in Tsansabis during my In-country Training II, we had a great “bush walk” tour with a San guide and he showed us this little tree. Guess the age of the young tree. What did you guess? A couple of months? Maybe a couple of years?

Baobab trees grow very, very slowly.

That young tree, which looks like a stick — it is 10 years old! In 10 years, it has not yet reached as high as my knee.

So now I look at that tree across the way from my room and I wonder — just how old are you? 1,000 years? 2,000?

I am filled with awe.


About Seth Longacre

soul worker, itinerant discalced Episcopal Deacon, barefoot runner, photographer, spiritual director, yoga teacher, minimalist, pilgrim
This entry was posted in Africa. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The Life of the Baobab tree

  1. Suzie says:

    You can find more info on this tree’s growth pattern which may surprise you at:
    Under the bold paragraph name “growth and development”
    (There was one in the 1st camp I stayed in that seems to have been in phase 2 development according to the article.)

  2. tlongacre says:


  3. Mitra says:

    Hi Tracy,
    Really enjoying your blog! I first encountered Baobab trees when in Togo and am stil in awe. One of my favourite sayings that I learned when I was in Togo was “To fully know a person is like trying and put your arms around a Baobab tree.” I love it. It shows both the size of the tree and the true nature of people.

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