This section of the Garden contains plants from four families: Ebonaceae, Rhamnaceae, Bignoniaceae and the Bombacaceae which contains the baobabs. The well known baobab belongs to the genus Adansonia. There are eight species of Adansonia in the world: six in Madagascar, one in Australia and one in Africa and the Comores. Six of the eight species have been planted in the Garden. There is a large specimen of the African Adansonia digitata at the sharp turn to the right, just before crossing the Crocodile River to enter the Garden. This tree has a palisade around it, to protect it from collectors who remove the bark for medicinal purposes. In days gone by the bark was also a source of fibre.
This handsome young specimen was planted in 1974 and, despite the fact that its natural habitat is dry bushveld, has thrived in the cultivated part of the Garden.
The glorious "taffeta-and-velvet, faerie-queen ball-gown" bloom of this fascinating tree lasts but a single day. It opens at about 4 a.m., at the first hint of approaching dawn, is fertilised by a bat and, by midday, the entire corolla with its stamens, has dropped off.
The flesh around the seeds in this fruit has a pleasant, refreshing flavour, like that of cream of tartar, and is used as the base for a delicious lemonade.