The baobab’s strange appearance has a number of explanations in Kenyan mythology. The most common one relates how the first baobab planted by God was an ordinary-looking tree, but it refused to stay in one place and wandered round the countryside. As a punishment, God planted it back again – upside down – and immobilized it.
Baobabs may live well over 2000 years, putting them among the longest-lived organisms that have ever existed. During a severe drought, their large green pods can be cracked open and the nuts made into a kind of flour. The resulting “hungry bread” is part of the common culture of the region. Even in normal times, they have their uses: the tangy white pith of the fruit is boiled with sugar to make a popular bright red sweet that you will see on sale at street stalls.