One of the world’s most famous trees is being wiped out by climate change

One of the world’s most famous trees – whose fruit has been enjoyed by the Duchess of Cambridge in a smoothie – is being wiped out by climate change, a study shows, quoted by

The baobab – more commonly known as the ‘tree of life’ – also hit the headlines after Prince Harry and Megham Markle’s love blossomed under one during a holiday.

The ancient produces a ‘superfood’ packed with antioxidants that has been popularised by celebrities.

Now scientists have found the largest and most ancient baobabs in Africa are being mysteriously killed off.

The international team described it as a disaster of “unprecedented magnitude.”

The baobab is the biggest and oldest flowering plant in the world.

Some date back 6,000 years – meaning they were around before the Great Pyramid and Sphinx were built.

They can grow almost 100 feet tall – and almost 100 feet wide.

Global warming is suspected to be affecting the ability of the trees – among the most distinctive on the planet – to survive in their unique habitat.

The discovery was made by chance during a study of the baobab’s biology and structure that enables it to get so big.

Eight of the 13 most historic – and five of the six largest – had either completely died or had their oldest parts collapse in just over a decade.

Professor Adrian Patrut, of Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, said: “The deaths of the majority of the oldest and largest African baobabs over the past 12 years is an event of an unprecedented magnitude.

“These deaths were not caused by an epidemic and there has also been a rapid increase in the apparently natural deaths of many other mature baobabs.

“We suspect the demise of monumental baobabs may be associated at least in part with significant modifications of climate conditions that affect southern Africa in particular.”

The trees have stout, massive, branchless trunks that look like pillars and can live for thousands of years.

They have massive hollow centres and can contain hundreds of square metres of wood.

The study published in Nature Plants analysed over 60 of the largest and potentially oldest baobab trees in Africa

It used radiocarbon dating to age samples taken from different parts of each tree’s trunk.

The researchers did not expect to find many had died. They said they were shocked.

Baobabs have a ring-shaped structure composed of multiple stems and trunks – often of different ages.

These can fuse together to form a closed circle – or remain open. False cavities like these are exclusive to baobabs.


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