Kigelia Africana - African Sausage Tree
Kigelia africana, is native to tropical Africa from Eritrea and Chad south to northern South Africa, and Namibia.
The tree is evergreen where rainfall occurs throughout the year, but deciduous where there is a long dry season. The leaves are pinnate, to 30–50 cm long, and the bark is grey and smooth at first, peeling on older trees.
The unusual flowers hang down from branches on long flexible stems and are bell-shaped, orange to reddish or purplish green, and about 10 cm wide. Their scent is most notable at night indicating that they are adapted to pollination by bats, which visit them for pollen and nectar. They also remain open by day however, and are freely visited by many insect pollinators, particularly large species such as carpenter bees. The fruit is a woody berry from 30–100 cm long and up to 18 cm broad; typically it weighs between 5 and 10 kg!! and hangs down on long, rope-like peduncles.
The tree is widely grown as an ornamental tree in tropical regions for its decorative flowers and unusual fruit. Planting sites should be selected carefully, as the falling fruit can cause serious injury to people, and damage vehicles parked under the trees!
Grows to around 20 meters tall.
Minimum recommended temperature 5°C though can cope to just above freezing.