Largest living baobab tree (volume)
Sagole Big Tree
414 cubic metre(s)
South Africa (Masisi)

Baobabs (Adansonia) are distinctive trees with incredibly large trunks. They can store tremendous amounts of water, as their trunks noticeably swell during the rainy season. The African baobab (A. digitata) has a vast range throughout the arid parts of Africa; six additional species are native to the Indian Ocean island of Madagascar, off south-east Africa; and an eighth species is native to north-west Australia. The largest known living baobab is the Sagole Big Tree, a specimen of A. digitata located in Masisi, Vhembe, South Africa, near the border with Zimbabwe. Based on its most recent measurements, Sagole has an extremely large base that covers 60.6 m² (652.3 sq ft), a height of 19.8 m (64 ft 11.5 in) and a total wood and bark volume of 414 m³ (14,620 cu ft). Its aboveground dry mass is estimated to be 54 tonnes (60 US tons).

Until 2018, the largest living baobab was the sacred Tsitakakoike Baobab, a specimen of the endangered species Adansonia grandidieri, which grew near Andombiro in the Ambiky Forest of south-west Madagascar. The incredibly stout and compact tree had a cylindrical trunk with a base that covered 59.6 m² (641.5 sq ft), a height of 14.6 m (47 ft 10.8 in) and a total volume of 455 m³ (16,068 cu ft) - 380 m³ (13,420 cu ft) of which was trunk and 75 m³ (2,648 cu ft) of which was canopy. It partially broke and collapsed in February 2018 leaving about 40% of the tree still standing, but this was expected to also collapse soon after.

An even larger African baobab tree (A. digitata) alive during the 21st century was the Platland/Sunland Tree of Modjadjiskloof, South Africa, with a base of 67.9 m² (730.9 sq ft), height of 18.9 m (62 ft) and a total wood and bark volume of 448 m³ (15,821 cu ft). Unfortunately, a large portion of the Platland Tree collapsed and died in 2016, leaving the Sagole Big Tree to claim the top spot.

Baobabs have among the lightest wood for any tree. Balsa wood is well known to model aeroplane makers as one of the lightest and softest woods, with a wood density that averages around 0.15 g/cm³, yet baobab wood is even lighter, averaging 0.13 g/cm³. As a result, the aboveground dry mass of the Platland baobab was estimated at only 58 tonnes (64 US tons) and about 59 tonnes (65 US tons) for Tsitakakoike. In terms of mass, giant gum trees (<i>Eucalyptus</i>) of Australia are the largest hardwood trees.

The Sagole Big Tree has been carbon-dated to 800 years old, the Platland Tree to 1,100 years and Tsitakakoike to 1,270 years.