The baobab also referred to as biobab boab, boaboa, bottle tree, upside-down tree, and monkey bread tree is a native tree to Africa, Madagascar and Australia. There are 8 species of boabab, 6 in Madagascar, 1 each in Africa and Australia. The tree is also referred in Sri Lanka as the Ali-Gaha (Elephant Tree) since the bark of the tree resembles a skin of an Elephant and the Tamils refer to it as ‘Perukka’.
The baobabs in Sri Lanka are believed to have been brought by Arabian Traders. According to a study done in 2003, there are about 40 Baobab Trees surviving in Sri Lanka, out of which 34 has been identified and measured in Mannar. Most of the trees were calculated to be 300-400 years old. The oldest and the largest baobab are at Pallimunei which is said to be about 800 years old. This tree was calculated 723 years old in the 2003 study. The circumference of the tree is 19.5 meters and its 7.5 meters tall. This is most popular of the all (see images taken in May 2008) due to its size and age.