Inspired by the photographs of baobab a few weeks ago, Nikolaus von Behr sent along these photographs of the “Brazilian baobab”, or barriguda, from the country’s dry interior forests (map). Thank you, Nikolaus!
The Encyclopedia of Earth entry on Atlantic dry forests makes special mention of Cavanillesia arborea: “Dry forests are fairly dense, up to 25 to 30 meters (m) high and characterized by tree species such as Cavanillesia arborea, Cedrela fissilis, Schinopsis brasiliensis, Astronium urundeuva, Aspidosperma macrocarpa, and Tabebuia sp. The most remarkable tree is certainly Cavanillesia arborea, with a huge, bottle-shaped trunk that reaches its maximum diameter of 1.5 m or more about 3 m above ground level. It attains heights of about 27 meters.”. Like most forests of the world, this region is under pressure: “Approximately 70 percent of the native forest has largely been destroyed. Because these forests grow on relatively rich soils, they are prime candidates for clearing both irrigated and dry-field agriculture. Furthermore, the high biomass of these forests makes them important sources of fuel for Brazil’s steel and pig iron industries, which run entirely on charcoal. The most diverse dry forests on flat terrain and rich soil have been completely removed”.
The Smithsonian Institution’s Centres of Plant Diversity site also has a section dedicated to these forests: Caatinga of North-Eastern Brazil. It has an excellent description of the floristic elements of the region.
On a different topic, Eirik aka pannicle@Flickr relayed to me his photographs of banana flowers and fruits after seeing yesterday’s entry on the related Strelitzia nicolai. I thought I’d share the set with other folks who enjoy BPotD. In particular, check out this photograph of the developing fruit.