Thursday, August 21, 2008

Kigelia Africana

Kigelia is a genus of flowering plants in the family Bignoniaceae. This genus comprises only one species, Kigelia Africana, which occurs throughout tropical Africa from Eritrea and Chad south to northern South Africa, and west to Senegal and Namibia. The genus name comes from the Mozambican Bantu name, kigeli-keia, while the common name Sausage Tree refers to the long, sausage-like fruit. Its name in Afrikaans Worsboom also means Sausage Tree. Their flowers' scent is most notable at night and they rely on pollination by bats, which visit them for pollen and nectar. The insert on the left shows the flowers in closeup. There are many sausage trees in Miami, and this one is at the corner of 67th Avenue and SW 64th Street. I'll watch it now and then to see if the bats are not too lazy this year to make sausages.

Note: Some synonyms (Kigelia Pinnata (Jacq.) DC.; Kigelia Abyssinica A. Rich.; Kigelia Aethiopica Decne.) are still accepted by a few horticulturists as distinct species, but botanical studies agree that the genus contains only one species (Joffe 2003, GRIN.) In African herbal medicine, the sausage fruit is believed to be a cure for a wide range of ailments, from rheumatism, snakebites, evil spirits, syphilis, and even tornadoes (Watkins 1975). An alcoholic beverage similar to beer is also made from it. But watch out! The fresh fruit is poisonous and strongly purgative so you really need to know how to prepare before eating or drinking them.

Sausage Tree

1 comment:

Curly said...

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