The sapling was a gift from the University of Madagascar, as a goodwill gesture, in return of a Neem tree that President Kovind had planted at the university campus in Antananarivo, during his visit to Madagascar in March.
The Baobab, known in India as kalpavriksha or a wish-fulling tree, is a rare sight. Across the country, not more than 200 are found say conservationists; mostly in isolated pockets of Gujarat, Maharashtra and a few in Jharkhand.
The Baobab has high medicinal and nutritional value, much like the Neem tree. The exchange of these plants (Baobab and Neem) shows how both India and Madagascar, attach importance to traditional medicines in their respective cultures, a Rashtra Bhavan statement said.
Conservationists say, the Baobab is native to Africa and of the nine species in the world, Madagaskar is home to six species, while two are native to mainland Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, and one is native to Australia.
Every President, during their tenure in Rashtrapati Bhavan, adds something special to its grandeur. The presidential place introduced beekeeping last year, to observe World Honey Day on August 19, and the first batch of honey was extracted on March 23.
Former President, late Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, had introduced 33 medicinal plants, with the help of Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants.
When Pranab Mukherjee was the president, the Rashtrapati Bhavan launched the 'innovator in residence and artist and writer in residence programmes'- the first of their kind anywhere in the world. Authors like, Amitav Ghosh, have been guests of the president as part of this programme.
In Africa too, the baobab tree is of great significance. People in many African countries use the Baobab to treat malaria and infertility. In recent times the Baobab being considered as a "superfood". In the European markets, Baobab powder is very popular; it used to make porridge and smoothies. Nutritionists claim Baobab has high levels of vitamin C, potassium, phosphorous and antioxidants.