Sausage Tree

Kigelia africana

The Sausage Tree is distributed widely through sub-Saharan Africa, occurring from Senegal to Eritrea and southwards to the South African provinces of Limpopo, Mpumalanga and Kwazulu-Natal. It was also introduced to various other parts of the world as a decorative garden plant. The IUCN lists it as being of least concern. Sausage Trees are usually found growing along rivers, streams and flood plains in more tropical climatic conditions, being rather susceptible to frost damage in more temperate climes.

Sausage Trees can grow as tall as 20m and have an equally widely spreading crown. The beautiful flowers, carried in early spring, are pollinated by a wide variety of insects, birds and bats attracted by copious quantities of nectar. The enormous fruit from which the Sausage Tree takes its name can grow to between 30cm and a meter long, weighing between 5 and 12kg, posing a considerable hazard for anyone or anything unlucky enough to be below the tree when one of the fruits drop. The fruiting season stretches from December to June in South Africa.

The flowers and fruit are eaten by antelope, primates, bushpigs, elephants, hippos and giraffes, though both the green and fresh fruit are poisonous to humans and needs to be dried, roasted or fermented before it can be utilised as food.

37 thoughts on “Sausage Tree

  1. Helen C

    I think I saw this when I visited Taiwan last year. Other than you can’t eat the fruit, I didn’t get too much information on it. I am so glad to read your post πŸ˜‰
    Have a great day.

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Taiwan would certainly have a favourable climate for thriving Sausage Trees, Helen, though they’re not indigenous to the island. Glad we could help with a bit of nformation and always nice seeing you here!

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  2. Joanne Sisco

    The sausage tree is one of those enduring memories I have from my visit to the Serengeti. It is such an unusual tree and I was fascinated by those long sausage things. I had wondered if they were edible. Now I know πŸ™‚

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        1. de Wets Wild Post author

          Die koorsboom met sy lig-groen/geel stam en takke is maklik om raak te sien, maar op n afstand, as mens nie die worse kan sien hang nie, kan die worsboom nogal baie soos n paar ander groot bome lyk.

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  3. Anne

    We used to have a Sausage Tree growing on the edge of one of the lands on our farm. Even though its presence could be awkward in terms of turning the tractor, my father was adamant it should remain. The flowers attract an amazing number of birds and insects and, of course, we were always fascinated by the fruit. It is one of the trees I enjoy seeing when we visit the Kruger National Park.

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Your father obviously was a nature lover and its easy to see that you inherited your appreciation for nature from your parents, Anne!
      The Kruger Park harbours some really beautiful specimens of the Sausage Tree.

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