I am a BIG fan of trees. I'm actually a big fan of a lot of things but trees are one of my mainstays, they help keep me rooted and as I go about my day and their whispering leaves help me sleep at night. One of my favorite stories growing up was Enid Blighton's "The Faraway Tree" and I am -of course- a completely adoring fan of Tolkein. I think that trees speak slowly and with deep thoughts.
The baobab with it's unusual shapes and multiplicity of uses to the creatures surrounding it is one of my favorite trees. To quote Thomas Pakenham from his The Remarkable Baobab:
"The African Baobab, Adansonia digitat, was the first to be discovered and is by far the commonest. It is found in 31 African countries - in fact in every part of the African savannah where the climate is hot and dry and most other plants (and people) find it difficult to live. This is the miracle that the baobab performs, It's like the salamander that revels in the fire. THe baobab puffs itself up to a gigantic size to become one of the largest living things in the world, where other plants would wither and die. (p9)"
"The seeds are like small black beans and ar delicious if first roasted. The white pulp which protects the seeds and can be made into a sherbert-like drink rich in vitamin C. And the outer shell, hard and waterproof, made all kinds of domestic articles from castanets to calabashes. The tree, too, was a godsend to the poor. If you needed fresh salad, you could eat both th elegant white flowers and the pale green foliage, five-lobe like a hand (hence the specific name digitata). It is true that, rated as ordinary timber, the tree is useless. The wood is so fibrous and spongy - more like balsa than hardwood - that you can drive in a nail without a hammer. Yet the bark can be stripped from the trunk, harvested like cork from cork trees in Portugal, without killing the tree. Pound the bark and you have made a rope; weave it and you have barkcloth to wear; flatten it and you have tiles for your roof." (13)