Do you know what pollinates baobab flowers, which are big, white, and open at night? Bet you thought it was bats, but scientists have never seen bats visiting baobab flowers in southern Africa. There is a theory that both hawk moths and bats play a role in pollination. But local researchers need to find out if this is true.
Scientists from the University of Venda and Texas Tech University (USA), hosted by the Vhembe Biosphere Reserve (VBR), will be trying to solve this mystery in November. They will be using citizen science methods to collect data on flower visitation rates. This means that members of the public are being asked to help collect this critical data.
In South Africa, baobab trees in our area flower from October to December each year. The peak flowering season is in November.
Get your business or family involved
To assist in collecting valuable data on what is pollinating baobab flowers, VBR suggests hosting a special evening under a baobab tree. The key dates are 18 and 19 November, either on one or both nights. This activity can take place on any baobab tree in Limpopo, in the Alldays, Vivo, Waterpoort, Mopani, Musina, Tshipise, and Pafuri areas.
Sit under one baobab tree from 18h00 to 12h00 and record what is coming to the flowers. Send an e-mail to VBR to request a form, which will allow you to record bats, hawk moths and other possible visitors to the flowers. You can also send a SMS or WhatsApp to +27 (0)71 116 6967, or visit the Facebook page for more information.
Endless beauty benefits
According to Eco Products, Baobab oil is the natural choice for healthy skin. Baobab oil is an excellent skin moisturiser, which absorbs quickly into the skin without clogging pores. It leaves the skin feeling soft and moisturised. Baobab oil contains Omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids, which contribute towards maintaining healthy skin.