The Sausage Tree – Species Spotlight

The Sausage tree: Kigelia Africana

African Sausage tree

The African Sausage tree is a flowering plant found across tropical Africa. It is a tree known to grow up to 20m tall. Due to its interesting fruits, the trees may be found in ornamental gardens in other parts of the world, outside of their native range.

The African Sausage tree is named after its sausage-shaped fruits that can be up to 60cm (2 feet) long and weigh around 6-7kg (15lbs). The fruits are eaten by several species of African mammals and this creates a pathway for the seeds to travel and disperse, often in the dung of these animals.

Some parts of the plant have been shown to have various medicinal properties, making it feasible to be used in the treatment of several different conditions. (Agyare et al, 2013 & Atawodi and Olowoniyi, 2015).

Another interesting additional note is that the scents of the tree’s flowers are strongest at night, suggesting that the tree has adapted in order to be pollinated by bats (Ayensu, 1974 & Baker, 1961), although some birds and insect pollinators will also be attracted to the flowers and pollinate, particularly in areas without many or any bats.

This plant is not listed as threatened.

References

Agyare, C, Dwobeng, A.S., Agyepong, N, Boakye, Y.D., Mensah, K.B., Ayande, P.G. & Adarkwa-Yiadom, M 2013, “Antimicrobial, Antioxidant and Wound Healing Properties of Kigelia Africana (Lam.) Benth. and Strophanthus hispidus DC.”, Advances in Pharmacological Sciences, Vol. 2013.

Atawodi, S.E. & Olowoniyi, O.D. 2015, “Pharmalogical and Thereputic Activities of Kigelia Africana (Lam.) Benth”, Annual Research & Review in Biology, Vol. 5, No. 1, pp. 1-17.

Ayensu, E.S 1974, “Plant and Bat Interactions in West Africa”, Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden, Vol. 61, No. 3, pp. 702-727

Baker, H.G 1961, “The Adaptation of Flowering Plants to Nocturnal and Crepuscular Pollinators” The Quarterly Review of Biology, Vol. 36, No. 1, pp. 64-73

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