Sunland Baobab

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Sunland Baobab (also Platland Baobab, Mooketsi Baobab, Tree Bar, Big Baobab or Pub Tree) is a well-known enormous baobab (Adansonia digitata) in South Africa. The tree is located on Sunland Farm (Platland Farm), near Modjadjiskloof (previously known as Duiwelskloof), Limpopo Province. In one study the tree was carbon-dated and found to be an estimated 6,060 years old, plus or minus 75 years.[1] Results of other studies have however suggested much higher ages.[2] The tree bloomed profusely in spring and provided a refuge to two pairs of owls, and other bird species. Most of the tree died in 2016 and 2017.[3]

Structure[edit]

It is 22 metres high and 47 metres in circumference. The trunk diameter was 10.64 metres (only the Glencoe Baobab up to its 2009 split was larger), and the crown diameter is 30.2 metres. The trunk consists of two connected sections, each with its own enormous hollow, and these are connected by a narrow passage. One third of the Boabab tree collapsed in August 2016. This was ascribed to age and the natural hollowing of the trunk with time. The property owners intend to leave the fallen trunk section as it fell, allowing natural processes to reshape and assimilate the feature.[2]

History[edit]

When the internal hollows were cleared of compost in 1993, evidence of Bushmen and Voortrekker visitors was found. Carbon investigations inside the hollows testified to fires in 1650 AD, 1750–1780, 1900, 1955 and 1990.[4]

Tourist attraction[edit]

The Sunland Big Baobab became a popular tourist attraction after 1993 when the owners of Sunland farm established a bar and wine cellar in its hollow trunk.[5] The hollow centre of the tree was cleared of a substantial compost layer to uncover the floor at about a meter below the present ground level. A door was placed in a squared off natural vent in the trunk, and a railway sleeper pub was constructed inside, complete with draft beer, seats and a music system. 60 people once attended a party inside this tree bar. A wine cellar was installed in the second hollow, which remains at a constant 22 °C temperature thanks to the tree's natural vents.[2]

The bar was destroyed in 2017 when the tree split, the second major break in 2 years.[6] According to a study published in 2018, not only the Sunland Baobab, but "the majority of the oldest and largest African baobabs [have died] over the past 12 years"[7].

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Adrian Patrut; Karl F. von Reden; Robert Van Pelt; Diana H. Mayne; Daniel A. Lowy; Dragos Margineanu. "Age determination of large live trees with inner cavities: radiocarbon dating of Platland tree, a giant African baobab". Retrieved 2013-04-14.
  2. ^ a b c "World famous Giant splits". BREAKING NEWS. Letaba Herald. 25 August 2016. Retrieved 30 August 2016.
  3. ^ Drake, Nadia (11 June 2018). "Africa's Oldest Trees Are Dying, and Scientists Are Stumped". National Geographic. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
  4. ^ Adrian Patrut; Karl F. von Reden; Daniel A. Lowy; Diana H. Mayne; Robert van Pelt; Ann P. McNichol; Mark L. Roberts; Dragos Margineanu. "Fire history of a giant African baobab evinced by radiocarbon dating: comparative calibration with Northern vs. Southern hemisphere data sets" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-01-20.
  5. ^ Adrian Patrut; Karl F von Reden; Daniel A Lowy; Diana H Mayne; Robert van Pelt; Ann P McNichol; Mark L Roberts; Dragos Margineanu. "The Big Baobab Website". Retrieved 2010-01-20.
  6. ^ Moore, Jaryd (April 18, 2017). "TZANEEN: World famous Baobab… splits again". Letaba Herald. Retrieved 14 August 2018.
  7. ^ Adrian Patrut; Stephan Woodborne; Roxana T. Patrut; Laszlo Rakosy; Daniel A. Lowy; Grant Hall; Karl F. von Reden. "The demise of the largest and oldest African baobabs". Retrieved 12 June 2018.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 23°37′16″S 30°11′53″E / 23.62111°S 30.19806°E / -23.62111; 30.19806