A single marula tree can provide up to 1.5 tons of fruit each season--as much as 90,000 fruits. That works well for the average elephant who needs to consume 6% of its own body weight each day and prefers only the ripest fruits.
There is much more to the African savannas than just predator and prey. Here, some of the most remarkable trees provide its inhabitants with two fundamentals: food and shelter. In the Manyeleti Game Reserve, one tree stands out above all others: the marula. It feeds many herbivores, from the smallest insects and rodents to the largest land mammal on Earth. See the integral role it plays over the dramatically extreme seasons in South Africa, and see why this tree is undeniably a tree of life.
Access even more free Smithsonian Channel full episodes and documentaries online through participating TV providers.
Find out if your television provider carries Smithsonian Channel.
Don't panic! It's simple to upgrade to the latest version of one of these browsers:
Don't panic! To get the best possible experience on smithsonianchannel.com we recommend you upgrade your operating system.
For the best possible site experience, please use Chrome for Android.
Add username "SmithsonianChan" on Snapchat for fun and fascinating facts. We'll be sharing spontaneous photos and videos as inspiration strikes.