Baobab tree (<em>Adansonia grandidieri</em>) - A biomechanical perspective
biomechanical, baobab tree, mechanical stability
This baobab tree (Adansonia grandidieri) at the Allee des Baobabs in western Madagascar is now surrounded by rice fields but normally grows as an emergent canopy tree in dry deciduous forests. Baobab trees live in seasonally dry climates in Africa, Australia, and Madagascar and have long been thought to rely on water stored in their large stems. Their wood is soft and weak, however, and the large diameter and high water content of their stem contributes to overall mechanical stability. Such biomechanical constraints are likely to be more important than water storage capacity in determining their shape and could in fact limit use of stored water.