(Mirror Daily, United States) – Southern Africa’s iconic baobab trees, that can live for several millennia, are facing a massive die-off, and researchers blame rising temperatures for it.
One baobab tree, which managed to reach the age of 1,500, is known in Africa as Homasi or Grootboom, which means “big tree” in the language Afrikaans. In 2004, however, the ancient tree collapsed unexpectedly.
No one had expected that since, during the previous spring, the tree had been in full bloom. In June 2004, its health started to deteriorate until on New Year’s Day in 2005, when the tree died.
The African baobab, with its massive trunk, is one of the planet’s biggest flowering plants. It is a very strange tree as its bare branches can be easily mistaken for its roots which gives it an appearance of an “upside-down tree.”
The mythical tree can reach exceptional ages, but in recent years, the Black continent’s oldest baobabs have faced a massive die-off. Grootboom was just one of seven ancient baobabs that died over just two years.
Baobab Trees Dying One after Another across the World
What’s more, there are 13 ancient baobab trees across the world, and four have collapsed over the last decade. Five more of the oldest known trees are about to die, too.
These large and monumental trees, which can live for 2,000 years or more, were dying one after another,
said Romanian researcher Adrian Patrut who has been studying the phenomenon.
Patrut expressed his disappointment that a generation will witness so many baobab deaths.
Baobab trees’ trunks can grow so large that people can use them as homes, stores, prisons, or chapels. This happens when most of the trunk’s tissue has died and the trunk becomes hollow. Usually, hollow baobabs can grow new stems, which then fuse together and create the hollow space.
It is unclear how old a baobab tree can really live. It was initially estimated that they could live for 5,000 years. Patrut has found the oldest known baobab tree in Zimbabwe, which lived for 2,500 years when it collapsed in 2011.
Image Source: MaxPixel
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