Wednesday, 28 December 2011

orchestra baobab

We have a venerable old Affenbrot-baumchen (Monkey Bread Tree, Baobab or Adansonia) growing against the window pane for support. Without a prop, the young clones grow sort of crooked and ratty, like another one of my ugly plants, also an old Baobab, gnarled and twisted like a genie forced back into the bottle, growing slowly inside a honey jar.
Having found it abandoned in a vacated office, I am not sure how old the less-manicured plant is--the bits of leaves, however, that fall off of that one when they become too unbalanced have produced some mighty sprouts that have become plants in their own right. The tree in the window, we noticed, is beginning to blossom, an occurrence that's never happened with this one before and does not, apparently, happen until the plant is at least eight to ten years old. In India and Madagascar, there are groves of the trees that are over five-thousand years old. Next comes bread-fruit (Gongalis) but I am not sure just when that crop comes.
There are a lot of traditional uses for the plant's seeds and produce, but the fruit apparently has an acquired taste and even local lore has it that the gods were so revolted by the taste that they cursed the tree to grow topsy-turvy, crooked and ratty.