Other names include Boab, Boaboa, Tabaldi, Bottle tree, Upside-down tree and monkey bread tree. These trees hold somewhat of an iconic status in Africa – especially Madagascar, where 6 indigenous species belong to that island alone – which have a characteristic look about them where they look like they are growing upside down, with the roots at the top which are actually its branches. The trees are known for their fire-resistant bark and have a remarkable drought resistance. These giants grow up to 30 metres high, and carbon dating shows they may live up to 3,000 years old. Their width is so great that one particular tree found in Zimbabwe was so large it could fit up to 40 people in its trunk. Infact, some extraordinary uses for Baobab trees have been shops, prisons, houses, barns and even a bus shelter! But it’s not just the height, width and special shape that make this such a unique tree: Its trunk and bark are incredibly smooth to the touch – unlike the bark of other trees – and the colour is usually that of a pinkish grey or copper colour. The trees are extremely difficult to kill: Even if burnt or stripped of their bark, they regenerate at amazing speed and will continue to grow. When they do die of natural causes and old age, they rot from the inside and will collapse suddenly, leaving a heap of fibres, which has lead to the belief by many people that the soul of the tree doesn’t die at all, it just simply disappears and moves on. Older Baobab trees are vital for creating ecosystems around them: From large mammals to thousands of reptiles, birds and insects that scurry around its crevices. Baboons in particular enjoy the fruit it provides, fruit bats drink its nectar and pollinate its flowers, while elephants have been known to manage to chop down a whole tree and consume it. Baby Baobab trees look very different to their adult forms and is a reason why the Bushmen believe that it doesn’t grow like other trees: They believe instead that it suddenly crashes to the ground fully grown and then one day simply disappears like magic. This is why they are known amongst many such cultures as “magic trees”. Baobab fruit can grow up to a foot long and contain tartaric acid, vitamin C and can be soaked in water to make a refreshing drink. They are also sometimes roasted and ground up to make a coffee-like drink. The bark of the tree is pounded to make rope, mats, baskets paper and cloth, while the leaves can be boiled and eaten, while glue can be made from pollen. The leaves are used medicinally to treat kidney and bladder diseases.