24
Feb
2010
Kigelia africana
Trees and shrubs | Magnoliopsida

Scientific Name – Kigelia africana (Lam) Benth.

Synonim – Kigelia pinnata (Jacq.) DC.

Common name(s) – sausagetree, saucissonnier, Leberwurstbaum, arbol de las salchichas, abu shutor, mussa, worsboom, umFongothi.

Distribution and Habitat – native to Africa, in lowland and medium altitude woodland and wooded grassland, often along rivers.

Description – medium to large tre, up to 10-20 m tall, with a dense rounded crown; squat trunk with light brown, flaky bark. Leaves opposites, crowded near the ends of branches, compound 5-11 leaflets; leaflets oblong, up to 6 x 10 cm, roughly hairy on both surfaces, yellowish-green above, paler green below, apex broadly tapering to rounded; base square, asymmetric in the lateral leaflets, symmetric in the terminal leaflet; margin entire; the lower leaflets shortly petiolulate, the terminal pair without petiolules; petiol up to 15 cm long. Flower dark maroon with heavy yellow veining on the outside, cup shaped, asymmetric, 15 cm across; in 6-12 flowered, lax, pendulous sprays up to 90 cm long. Calyx shortly tubular with 2-5 ribbed lobes; corolla widely cup shaped with 5 broad spreading lobes; 4 stamens. Flowering from August to October. Fruit inedible, 50 – 100 x 12 cm, grayish-brown, with lenticels, indehiscent, 9 kg.

Growth rate – fast-growing. The growth rath is at least 1 m/year, but it is slower in colder areas.

Tolerances –  tolerates temperatures ranging from 4 to 40 ̊C.

Requirements – prefers fertile, well-drained soils in sunny places.

Propagation – by seeds, viability is maintained for more than 3 years in hermetic storage. Fresh seded sown in sand in September. Protect young plants from frost.

Pest and Diseases – Newinia kigeliae.

Properties and Uses – In Tanzania roasted seeds are added to local beer and it is drunk as an aphrodisiac. Macerated too long, it causes severe headaches and poisons the beer.

In south Malawi, it is believed that hanging the fruits around a building can protect the building against virulent storms and hurricanes.

Kigelia Africana is suitable for riverbank stabilization.

Sausage tree is a shade tree, but has a invasive root system, so keep it clear of buildings and paving.

Curiosity – Kigelia is a genus with a single species, which is cultivated as an ornamental tree.

‘Sausage tree’ is derived from the cylindrical shape of the fruit. Kigelia is the Latinized version of a Mozambique name.

Raw fruit are poisonous to humans.

Bibliography

Ernst Schmidt, Mervyn Lotter, Warren McCleland -  Trees and Shrubs of Mpumalanga – Jacana Media, 2002

H.D. Neuwinger – African Ethnobotany – Posons and Drug – Chapman and Hall, 1996

W. Arthur Whistler – Tropical Ornamentals – Timber Press, 2000

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