Monday 29 October 2018

Close but not quite there

I often have to travel to Africa for work, which should be perfect for the plant addiction. Sadly between the location and pressures on time it never quite gives the tourist or plant opportunities. The latest trip was to The Gambia which was strange for several reasons; firstly two other people were going as well (I have always been on my own before) and the research centre was right next to a beach.

The flight was actually the highlights scenery wise. Flying over desert is usually pretty spectacular if you happen to be looking out of the window.

The flights meant there was time for a quick trip to the beach.

There is a list of plants I dream of seeing in habitat, mainly aloes. One that is right up there are the ancient boabab trees.  For me these are one of the iconic views of Africa. So I was a little surprised to find this walking around the office.

I managed to track down someone who knew that it was planted shortly after the research centre opened. It should be there for generations of researchers to enjoy.   Even at this size there was something special about it.

Boabab juice is a stapple for locals and it was fruiting season. After a couple of days I started to notice trees and fruits all over the place. Sadly they are not the massive 1000 year old trees you see in photos. I didn't get out of the capital so it was hardly a representative sample.

Some of the more touristy places make the most of their trees.

I'm guessing that as these mature the floor of the tree house is not going be quite as flat. Mind you that will probaly not be for a hundred years or two.

While it was great to see my first boababs, these are not quite the specimens I dreamt of. So can't cross that one off the list quite yet.


  1. Closer than I will ever get! I hope those youngsters get the chance to live to 1,000. There are some young Baobabs out at a zoo/botanic garden in Palm Desert. A pair at the Huntington fell over, rotted, a couple of years ago.

    Some good looking palms, at least.

    1. It is strange to thing you 100 years but 500 before these are considered mature! I don't thin either of us will bea round then.