Flowers from rare African tree bloom at University of Agricultural Sciences

The Gandhi Krishi Vigyan Kendra (GKVK) campus of the University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS) is home to a rare African tree — Adansonia digitata, the baobab — which is currently blooming with its big white flowers.
Baobab, most widespread of the Adansonia species, are typically found in dry, hot savannahs of sub-Saharan Africa. The one at UAS is a deciduous fruit tree, up to 20-30m high, with a lifespan of several hundred years.
While the white flowers of the baobab tree dangle from branches on long stems, the crinkled petals and a big cluster of stamen give the flowers an exotic, powder-puff appearance.
Shortly before or at the onset of monsoon, the baobabs grow their leaves and the flower buds occur almost simultaneously. About four weeks later, the trees start to bloom. Most baobabs flower once a year; the flower’s stinky and carrion-like smell tends to attract bats, insects and birds.
The 12cm flowers open during late afternoon till one night. Research shows they are primarily pollinated by fruit bats of the pteropodinae sub-family.
The word baobab in Senegal apparently means “tree of a thousand years”, while it is also known as gorakh imli in Hindi and papparappuli in Tamil. Fully grown baobabs are found in Lalbagh Gardens, besides some places in Haveri and a couple of other districts.


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