Avenue of the Baobabs at sunset - 8, Madagascar
On our way to the Kirindy reserve, we passed through Allée des baobabs (Avenue of the Baobabs) just before sunset.
This famous site has a few dozen Adansonia grandidieri trees. Adansonia grandidieri is the largest and most famous out of the six baobab species endemic to Madagascar. It is locally known as Reniala, which means "king of the woods". A fitting name as these giants grow up to 30m tall.
Originally, they would tower above the dry forest, but unfortunately those have been cleared for agriculture. These ancient giants are what remain. Besides their weird upside down appearance and height, they are also known for their incredible lifespan. They are hard to date, numbers vary from 800 years to 1,000 or even 2,000. In any case, very old.
As long as it takes for a baobab to mature, as quickly they come to their end. Once they fall apart, their inner tissue is revealed which consists of a very soft spongue-like fibre material. This material allows the baobab to survive for years without any rain, yet once exposed, will decompose in a matter of weeks.
Finally, a little known fact is that this species flowers at night. At the very first night of the blooming season, the flowers open and release all their pollen at once. This pollen will then stick to bats, lemurs and moths licking the nectar from the flowers.
''Adansonia grandidieri'', sometimes known as Grandidier's baobab, is the biggest and most famous of Madagascar's six species of baobabs. This imposing and unusual tree is endemic to the island of Madagascar, where it is an endangered species threatened by the encroachment of agricultural land.