Tag Archives: Worsboom

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.