By: Rupert Watson
200 pages, Col photos
The baobab is surely the botanical symbol of Africa, instantly recognizable from afar and a compelling icon of the African landscape. This age-old 'upside-down tree' invariably inspires wonder, awe and mystery, and has intrigued travellers for hundreds of years.
In an absorbing, inspired account, author Rupert Watson explores the life and times of this fascinating tree, from its early Madagascan beginnings to its present status on the continent and its future in a changing Africa. He takes a close look at the myriad uses of baobabs over the ages: their hollow centres have served as prisons, toilets, wells and bars, and some specimens have even been used as a refuge in battle or as burial sites. Other relationships between humans and the baobab are explored too, often illustrated by delightful anecdotes. The curious baobab is shown in its many stages, moods and guises - and sometimes in the most unlikely places.
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