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Adansonia digitata, Willd. (Baobab or Upside-down tree)

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Watercolour on paper, no date (late 18th early 19th century). Hand painted copy of an illustration commissioned by William Roxburgh (1751-1815). In his 'Flora indica' Roxburgh describes this plant as a tree which is very scarce in India, and 'probably not a native of Asia'. Roxburgh tells that in the Botanic Garden of Calcutta, where this tree blossoms in May and June, and ripens its seed in the cool season, there is a 25 years old plant of 'Adansonia digitata', with an irregular, short and sub-conical trunk, which is 18 feet in circumference. In a letter sent to Roxburgh the 2nd of July 1802, from Mantolle, in Sri Lanka, General Hay Macdowell notes: 'In my walk last night on the ruins of this once rich and extensive city, called by the natives Mande or Maddoo-ooltum, I chanced to observe a tree whose prodigious magnitude induced me to measure it...fifty feet in circumference, above six feet from the ground, the natives call it Peerig, and from what I have been able to collect, it is not indigenous here.'

Copyright © RBG KEW

Media ID 654422

Date: 3rd December 2007

Author: Unknown

Filename: ROX00000238.jpg

Image Size: 3600 x 5112 Pixels

Filesize is 8.79MB

Version 2 is 3.79MB

Associated Categories: Botanical Art

Associated Categories: Botanical illustrations

Associated Categories: William Roxburgh

Keywords: 19th century, bombacaceae, botanical art, east india company, india, tree, white, william roxburgh collection