Adansonia is a genus of eight species of tree, six native to Madagascar, one native to mainland Africa and the Arabian Peninsula and one to Australia. The mainland African species also occurs on Madagascar, but it is not a native of that island, and was introduced in ancient times to south Asia and during the colonial era to the Caribbean. A ninth species was identified in 2012, incorporating upland populations of southern and eastern Africa.
A typical common name is baobab. Other common names include boab, boaboa, tabaldi, bottle tree, upside-down tree, and monkey bread tree. The generic name honours Michel Adanson, the French naturalist and explorer who described Adansonia digitata.
Adansonias reach heights of 5 to 30 m (16 to 98 ft) and have trunk diameters of 7 to 11 m (23 to 36 ft). Glencoe baobab – an African baobab specimen in Limpopo Province, South Africa, often considered the largest example alive – up to recent times had a circumference of 47 m (154 ft). Its diameter is estimated at about 15.9 m (52 ft). Recently the tree split up into two parts and it is possible that the stoutest tree now is Sunland baobab, also in South Africa. The diameter of this tree is 10.64 m (34.9 ft), with an approximate circumference of 33.4 m (110 ft).
The Avenue or Alley of the Baobabs is a prominent group of baobab trees lining the dirt road between Morondava and Belon'i Tsiribihina in the Menabe region in western Madagascar. Its striking landscape draws travelers from around the world, making it one of the most visited locations in the region. It has been a center of local conservation efforts, and was granted temporary protected status in July 2007 by the Ministry of Environment, Water and Forests, the first step toward making it Madagascar's first natural monument.
Along the Avenue in some 260 m long segment are remaining some 20 - 25 trees about 30 meters in height, of the species Adansonia grandidieri, endemic to Madagascar. Nearby, in the rice paddies and meadows grom some 20 - 25 more trees of this species. Baobab trees, up to 800 years old, known locally as renala (Malagasy for "mother of the forest"), are a legacy of the dense tropical forests that once thrived on Madagascar. The trees did not originally tower in isolation over the sere landscape of scrub but stood in dense forest. Over the years, as the country's population grew, the forests were cleared for agriculture, leaving only the baobab trees, which the locals preserved as much in respect as for their value as a food source and building material.
Some 7 km further to the northwest are located the famous Baobab Amoureux - two Adansonia za trees twisted together. According to the legend these two loving baobabs came and grew together across the centuries. Baobabs found themselves after an impossible love between a young man and young woman of the nearby village. However both had already an assigned partner and had to marry separately in their respective villages. However, the impossible couple dreamed of a common eternity life and having a child together and secretly asked help to their god. Both baobabs were born and now live they for eternity as one as the couple always wished.