Kigelia africana

Kigelia africana.

Family Bignoniaceae > Tribe Coleeae.
The Sausage tree, native to Africa, is the only species in the genus.

It is a medium to large tree often about 10 to 20 m high.
It is evergreen to deciduous depending on the rainfall.
It has a short, thick trunk and a dense, rounded crown.
The spreading branches often arise low down on the trunk.
The smooth, pale grey-brown bark flakes with age.

The pinnate leaves are opposite or sometimes in whorls of three.
They are concentrated at the ends of the branches.
Leaves can be from 20 to 30 cm long with 3 to 5 pairs of leaflets.
There may or may not be a terminal leaflet.
Leaflets are on very short or no stalks.
They are ovate or elliptic with a blunt or pointed tip and an asymmetric base.
They are yellow-green and paler underneath with wavy margins.

The pendulous, branched inflorescences can be metres long.
Each inflorescence can have up to 12 flowers opening one at a time and at night.
Corollas fall off early and there may be more on the ground than on the tree.

The tubular calyx, up to 3 cm long, has 5 (2 to 4) lobes that can be blunt or pointed.
The corolla, of 5 partly fused petals, is up to 12 cm long and 15 cm wide at the top.
It has a short, narrow base then a large, slightly curved cup-shaped section.
There are 5 asymmetric, spreading terminal lobes.
The petals are wrinkled and the colours are variable.
They can be brownish, dark red or maroon and have prominent green to yellow veins externally.

The 4 stamens are longer than the corolla tube.
The ovary has 1 locule.

The woody, brown, indehiscent fruit are sausage-shaped.
They hang down on long stalks and may remain on the tree for a year.
They are often about 20 to 30 cm long and weigh 5 to 10 Kg.
The fibrous pulp has many hard, pale 10 mm long seeds.