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Myrrh: the many uses of a hostile tree

Hadzabe near Lake Eyasi use Commiphora to light firesAt Safari Ecology blog, Colin has followed up a fascinating post on why so many trees and shrubs in the African savanna are so thorny with one on a particularly useful thorny tree, myrrh (Commiphora). A bunch of recent studies have borne out the anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties of its sap, which has been used to treat infections at least since the ancient Sumerians. Myrrh trees also make good habitat, their berries are an important food source for a number of species, and — well, just read Colin’s post.

How old are baobabs, and why don’t we see any small ones?

baobab with a giraffe

Only a baobab can make a giraffe look puny.

Baobabs are one of the most impressive trees in the East African savanna landscape, and ecologist Colin Beale at Safari Ecology blog says he’s often asked two questions about them: how old are they? And why don’t we see baby baobabs? This blog post explores some recent answers to those questions.

(I’m grateful to Colin for the submission, not only because he’s summarizing a research paper not available on the open web, but also because seeing baobabs is one of my life goals. As a matter of fact, I just mentioned my baobab-longing yesterday — if y’all will indulge me a link to my own blog — in a post called “Strange trees.”)

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