|Naming and discovery|
Kigelia africana or the sausage tree is a tree in the Bignoniaceae family. It is found in tropical parts of Africa.
K. africana grows from 10-15 meters, and occasionally reaches up to 20 meters. The wood is gray and smooth at first, but with age, it starts to crack.
The tree is evergreen where rainfall occurs through the whole year, and deciduous in areas that don't. The leaves grow from 30-50 centimeters long. Flowers on the tree hang down from branches on long stems that grow 2-6 meters long. The flowers are colored orange to reddish, or purplish green, at about 10 cm wide. Birds and bats often times pollinate the flowers.
The fruit is a woody berry that grows from 30–100 cm long; it weighs between 5–10 kg, and hang down on long peduncles. The fruit pulp is fibrous and contains several seeds. The fruit is eaten by several animals, which carry the seeds around, until they release waste, moving the seeds of the sausage tree possibly far away.
The genus name comes from the Mozambican name, kigeli-keia, while the common name, sausage tree, refers to the long, sausage-like fruit.
Some synonyms are still accepted by a few, but it is agreed that K. africana is the only species of its genus.
- Bignonia africana
- Tecoma africana
- Crescentia pinnata
- Kigelia pinnata
- Kigelia abyssinica
- Kigelia aethiopica
Cultivation and usesEdit
In Africa, the fruit is believed to be a cure for rheumatism, snakebites, evil spirits, syphilis, and even tornadoes. An alcoholic beverage is also made from the fruit of K. africana. The fresh fruit is poisonous, so the fruit are prepared by being dryed, roasted, and fermentated. Makoros are made out of the wood in Botswana, and the leaves are commonly used for skin-care products.
The tree is widely grown as an ornamental tree for its decorative flowers and unusual fruit. Planting these strange trees requires you to think, because the falling fruit could damage people and their possessions.