Sausage Tree – how to grow penises

Kigelia (Sausage Tree) is a genus of flowering plants in the family Bignoniaceae.

sausage tree

The 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.
sausage tree

 

penis-like fruit sausage tree

 

It is a tree growing up to 20 m tall. The bark is grey and smooth at first, peeling on older trees. It can be as thick as 6 mm on a 15-cm branch.

The tree is evergreen where rainfall occurs throughout the year, but deciduous where there is a long dry season. The leaves are opposite or in whorls of three, 30–50 cm long. The flowers (and later the fruit) hang down from branches on long flexible stems (2-6 metres long).
sausage tree fruits

 

The penis-like fruit is a woody berry from 30–100 cm long and up to 18 cm broad; it weighs between 5–10 kg, and hang down on long, rope-like peduncles. The fruit pulp is fibrous and pulpy, and contains numerous seeds. It is eaten by several species of mammals, including Baboons, Bushpigs, Savannah Elephants, Giraffes, Hippopotami, monkeys, and porcupines.

The sausage tree has a long history of use by rural African communities, particularly for its medicinal properties. These properties are found in every part of the tree, including the fruit, the bark, the roots and the leaves. Most commonly, traditional healers have used the sausage tree to treat a wide range of skin ailments, from relatively mild complaints, such as fungal infections, boils, psoriasis and eczema, rheumatism, snakebites, evil spirits, through to the more serious diseases, like leprosy and syphilis. Several internal applications have also been employed, including treatment of dysentery, ringworm, tapeworm, post-partum haemorrhaging, malaria, diabetes, pneumonia and toothache. Perhaps not surprisingly (given the suggestive shape of its fruit), it is also used as an aphrodisiac.

size of the sausage tree fruit

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