Thursday, March 13, 2014

Tree Profile: Kigelia Africana

Kigelia Africana - "The Sausage Tree"  dwarfing a young Cordia africana

We spotted Kigelia africana hiding in plain sight during a trip back from a work site.  Many times we have passed this tree but only recently did we take notice that its fruits were obviously different from other trees.  Appropriately named the ‘sausage tree’, the most noticeable characteristic of this tree - besides being giant itself -is the large, grey, sausage like fruit it carries. When we asked people in the area about the tree, everyone knew which one we were talking about but told us that its uses where unknown and that it was the only tree of its kind around, which leaves it to a bit of a mystery for how it got there and where it came from.  I consulted a couple of references to find out more.

Grey colored sausage-like fruits hang from the stems of Kigelia africana

Leaves of Kigelia Africana

Indigenous to Ethiopia and widespread throughout Africa, Kigelia africana can be utilized for firewood, timber, fodder (flowers), dye production (from boiled fruit), and in some places as an ingredient used in fermentation process of honey beer (ripened fruit).  K. africana grows best below 1,850 m and can do well in areas receiving an annual rainfall above 500 mm.


Trees of Ethiopia (A photographic guide and description) - Kebede Tadesse

Useful Trees and Shrubs of Ethiopia: Identification, Propagation and Management for 17 Agroclimatic Zones - Azene Bekele-Tesemma

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