Baobab, Madagascar National Treasure

“There are some seeds on the little prince’s planet that are terrible, like the baobab. When its seeds invade the soil and are found too late, don’t try to get rid of it. The tree will entangle the whole planet until it is worn by the roots. Through the latter!” In the world-class bestselling book “Little Prince”, De Saint-Exupery’s illustration of “the most spectacular” baobab tree and depiction of the horror scene of the baobab tree engulfing the little prince planet A lot of associations have been created. However, it is not easy to encounter baobab trees in reality. The nine baobab trees that exist in the world are only distributed in Australia, the African continent and Madagascar. Among them, Madagascar (hereinafter referred to as Ma Guo), which is far away from the earth, is definitely the best place to watch baobab trees (pictured). In addition to sharing with the African continent, there are 7 species that are only found in the local area. Native tree species.

“The result of God’s mischief”

In April of this year, a news report that “the 7 endangered Madagascar baobab trees were dug in Dubai” caused the Malaysian media to blow up the pot, and the indignant Madagascars demanded that the UAE people return to the tree. Although it was quickly clarified that it was all from Australia, the baobab tree for export, but the Madagascar’s anger for the 7 trees directly reflected the special significance of the baobab tree for them.

Not far away, I went to a foreign country just to see the tree? This is only about the baobab tree in Madagascar. After sightseeing on the spot, the reporter found that the baobab tree with a height of more than 30 meters and a diameter of 7-9 meters and a tree age of over 600 years old is an invincible national image of Malaysia. “It’s trunk is so thick, straight, smooth, filled with a steady stream of life, even God is licking the beauty of the baobab tree and deliberately pulling it out and inserting it into the soil.” This is very popular in Malaysia. The legend confirms the extraordinaryness of the baobab tree from the side.

However, if you leave the most famous “Baobab Avenue” in Malaysia and go to the southwest, you will find that in addition to the most exposed big baobab (also known as Grandidier baobab), other origins Yuma’s safflower baobab, Pierre baobab, Finney baobab, Suvarez baobab, and Boz baobab are also so strangely shaped that visitors enter the fantasy world. open. Some of them are as thin as chopsticks, some are as thick as barrels, some are like five fingers protruding from the ground, others are twins entwined in pairs, and because the bacteria grow out with a halo The ring-shaped “tattoo”… so versatile and unique baobab trees do make people wonder that they may be “the result of God’s mischief.”

Magical “tree water tower”

The name of the baobab tree is derived from Arabic and means “multi-seed fruit”. It is said that its fruit is like bread, and monkeys and donkeys love to eat, so it is also called baobab. Because a small tree can grow to 50 cm in height in 7 years, some baobab trees with extremely thick trunks and very old age are regarded by the locals as “sacred trees”. When people seek for wealth, hope to transship, and eliminate diseases, Come to the “Holy Tree” to pray. In front of a village’s “Bao Bao Sheng Shu”, the reporter saw a warning sign “No sandals, shoes close to people”.

Surprisingly, the hard baobab tree trunk is wrapped with a sponge-like soft tree heart. This “sponge tree heart” has the function of storing water during the rainy season for the dry season of trees. Since an adult large baobab can store more than 100 tons of water, the Mahafra people living in dry climates still retain the custom of making a “tree water tower”. In the dry season, they used a rooster to sacrifice the selected baobab tree, and then cut a “window” into the hollowed-out trunk at its height. In the rainy season, fill the trunk with water and seal the “window”, then use the “tree water tower” in the dry season to spend the months of water shortage. The reporter personally verified the authenticity of the “sponge tree heart” statement. On the way to the city of Turia, the guide Gerard specially asked everyone to enter a “Baobab House” as a guest. This is a huge baobab tree that is hollowed out by a trunk. The inner wall is covered with a sponge-like “wallpaper”. The highest point of the arched “ceiling” is about 4 meters away from the ground. After the tourists, drivers and tour guides enter a total of 16 people. There are still plenty of places to stand side by side. There is plenty of space in the tree, and there is an entrance to the wind and rain, so the locals are awarded the title of “Bao Bao Tree House”.

The fruit of the baobab tree varies greatly depending on the variety, and is round and long. The reporter tasted the baobab trunk fruit at the market, and the white flesh has no special taste. According to the tour guide, the fresh fruit of the baobab tree can be juiced, and the bark can be used to build a straw house, make a cable or be mashed and mixed with other raw materials to make a sunscreen mask.

National treasure tree that needs to be rescued

Malaysia is unique, versatile, extremely long-lived and very rare (some species are listed as “endangered” by the Red List of Endangered Species of the World), making baobabs the perfect choice for the “national tree” of Madagascar. In addition to various handicrafts and souvenirs, the reporter clearly remembers that after boarding the flight of Madagascar, the first time he received a practical travel bag with the image of a baobab tree.

Although the baobab tree is a “national treasure” of the Malaysian country, its future is in danger of extinction. Despite the organization of artificial seedling cultivation, in order to obtain more cultivated land, the Malagasy people have not stopped setting fire to the mountain. The baobab bark is very hard but can’t stand the fire, and some are burnt to death. Many of the baobab trees that survived the fire were dying because they couldn’t stand the roots in the paddy fields. In addition, the baobab tree pollination relies on a kind of bat instead of a bee. It also kills many bats when it is set on fire. Therefore, although the “national tree” has been paid attention to, it is still worrying. A Madagascar old man told reporters: “Many baobab trees existed before the arrival of the colonists. They have not fallen after the Second World War and many political turmoil. If they disappear in the future because there is no Malagasy care. It is the regret of all mankind!”