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- The Madhya Pradesh government has decided that the forest department cannot give permission to translocate Dhar’s famed Baobab trees, some of which are centuries old, and that this can be done only by the State Biodiversity Board.
- The ban has been imposed by placing the trees under the Biodiversity Act, which means that permission to use them commercially will have to be taken from the state biodiversity board.
Heritage and historical value
- These trees are native to Africa, but likely brought to this corner of Madhya Pradesh by African soldiers hired by the local Islamic kingdoms between the 10th and 17th century.
- The report also mentioned the protests by tribals against the translocation of Baobab trees by a Hyderabad businessman Ramdev Rao.
About the trees
- Adansonia is a genus made up of eight species of medium-to-large deciduous trees known as baobabs.
- They are placed in the Malvaceae family, subfamily Bombacoideae.
- They are native to Madagascar, mainland Africa, and Australia.
- The earliest written reports of baobab are from a 14th-century travelogue by the Arab traveler Ibn Batuta.
- Baobabs are long-lived deciduous, small to large trees from 5 to 30 m.
- The baobab is also known as the "upside down tree", a name that originates from several myths.
- They are among the most long-lived of vascular plants and have large flowers that are reproductive for a maximum of 15 hours.
- The fruit of the baobabs is one of their distinguishing features. It is large, oval-to-round, and berry-like in most species.
- Baobabs store water in the trunk to endure harsh drought conditions.
- All occur in seasonally arid areas, and are deciduous, shedding their leaves during the dry season.
- Across Africa, the oldest and largest baobabs began to die in the early 21st century, likely from a combination of drought and rising temperatures.
- Baobabs are important as nest sites for birds, in particular the mottled spinetail and four species of weaver.
Baobab trees are the trees of life
- Baobab trees can store large amounts of fresh water in their extraordinary trunks.
- This makes them true life-savers during times when water is scarce.
- It also allows the baobab tree to produce nutritious fruits even during the driest years. That’s why the baobab tree is called the tree of life.
- Baobab fruit can be used both fresh and dried.
- It is super-nutritious, especially in its dried form which develops naturally on the branch and is sold as a powder.
- Baobab fruit are a superfood. They contain more vitamin C than oranges and more potassium than bananas.
- The fruit, leaves, bark and seeds of the baobab tree all have strong health benefits, and are traditionally used to treat diseases, reduce fever and stimulate the immune system.
- The oil pressed from baobab tree seeds has long been a favoured ingredient in natural skincare and hair care products.
- Baobab seed oil is also naturally insect-repelling.
Q) Which of the following statements with reference to Baobab tress is/are correct?
1. Baobab fruit contain more vitamin C than oranges and more potassium than bananas.
2. Baobabs are long-lived deciduous trees.
3. They are native to Asia and Australia.
a. 1 and 2
b. 2 and 3
c. 1 and 3
d. 1, 2 and 3
Correct Answer: a