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Southbroom Baobab tree

Southbroom has her very own special Baobab tree which is celebrating its 28th birthday this year, there is also a fascinating story of how our special tree got to be in its 'forever' home with the help of what makes #southbroomisspecial - the incredible community spirit who come together when needed.

For those of you who missed it, here is the beautiful account of what happened, written by local resident and author Libby Cochrane for the South Coast Herald which was published on the 9th March 2018.



The Baobab, also called a bottle tree, monkey bread tree and rather quaintly, the upside-down tree, is any of nine species found in mostly arid regions of mainland Africa, Arabia, Australia and Madagascar, where it is the national tree.

Strongly anchored in the soil by a extensive and strong root system, the African Baobab is a massive deciduous fruit tree with a lifespan of several hundred years.

While grown easily from seed, only specialised nurseries stock the species.

Back in 2000, on a visit to Skukuza Indigenous Plant Nursery, Southbroom resident Paul Reynolds bought a one-and-a-half metre tall Baobab tree and transported it to

Southbroom on the back of his bakkie. Scientist Diana Mayne, an authority on the species, who had been monitoring the tree estimated it was seven years old.

The Baobab survived the journey and on reaching Southbroom was planted on a property in North Ridge Road, then owned by the Reynolds. With the tree growing at a steady rate and with only a relatively small garden, at the end of last year, the current owners, becoming increasingly anxious about sharing their space with a tree, destined to be a monster, made enquiries as to having it removed and hopefully successfully transplanted.

Under the careful, clinical eye of Baobab expert, Diana Mayne and botanist Anne Skelton, who serves as chairperson of the Southbroom Conservancy, Michael Street, well known landscaper and tree expert was called in to assess the possibility of removing the tree, now 25 years old and standing over six metres.

After removing a section of the fence, neighbouring property owner, Phil O’Mahony, gave Michael Street the ‘thumbs up’ to use his driveway for a heavy truck to carry out the operation and transport the tree to be replanted in its new home on the island at the junction of Gilbert Road an Eagle Street in the centre of the village.

Not an everday job for your everyday gardener by any means. The uplifting, transport and replanting operation came at a price which was shared by Diana Mayne, Southbroom Conservancy and North Ridge Road property owner Lisa Blakeway.

Southbroom’s newest, living landmark, born and bred at the Skukuza Indigenous Nursery, carried to Southbroom on the back of a bakkie, planted and then transplanted to it ‘forever’ home, is doing well.

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