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Adansonia gregorii (Boab)

My favourite! No other plant is more symbolic of the Kimberley than the boab, with its immense, swollen trunk and striking silhouette.

Boabs have an unusual distribution. One species is common in Africa’s main land, 6 or 7 endemic species occur in Madagascar and 1 is found in Australia – that’s right, here in the Kimberley! Several lines of evidence support the view that boabs were introduced into Australia, either deliberately by humans or as fruits washed up from shipwrecks. Ships carrying boab ‘nuts’ as food may have been blown by storms and cyclones onto the Australian coast. Kimberley Aboriginal people ate the seeds raw or toasted, and pounded the white pith, which contains vitamin C, to make a drink. The bark of the root was made into fibre which was used to make twine or fishing lines. You can even gain water by draining lengths of root into a container!

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