Kigelia africana

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Botanical Name
Kigelia africana
Bignoniaceae - The jacaranda family.
ky-GEL-ee-uh af-ri-KAHN-uh
Common Name(s)
English: sausage tree
Afrikaans: Worsboom
IsiZulu: umVunguta; umFongothi
Sesotho sa Leboa: Modukguhlu
Tshivenda: Muvevha
Plant Group
  • Tree A woody, self-supporting perennial plant usually with a single main stem and generally growing more than 6 meters tall.
Plant Size
  • Medium to Large
    Tree15m to 20m
    Shrub2m to 3m
    Perennial/ground cover60cm to 75cm
    Bulb60cm to 1m
    Succulent60cm to 1m
  • Sun The area is in full sun for all or most of the day, all year round.
General Information
  • Attractive fruits, berries or seeds Brightly coloured fruits or berries increase and extend the visual impact of the plant and are especially attractive to birds and other small wildlife.
  • Deciduous to Semi-deciduous In warmer areas a deciduous plant may not lose its leaves during winter at all, or may lose its leaves for a very brief period, or may only lose part of its foliage.
  • Drought Tolerance: Moderate The plant is moderately adapted to arid conditions and can survive short periods of drought and high temperatures without extra water.
  • Evergreen to semi-deciduous The plant is evergreen in warmer, wetter parts of the country, but may lose some of its leaves during winter in colder, drier situations.
  • Frost: Tender A plant that will not survive any frost or low winter temperatures.
  • Roots Invasive Do not plant near pools, paving, walls or buildings.
  • Water Moderate These plants will need some extra watering compared to water-wise plants. Plant them together, in at least some shade and in a convenient proximity to the house so that grey water can be utilised during times of drought.
Specific Information

Kigelia africana has a dense rounded to spreading crown. Take care where you plant it. The falling fruit is heavy and solid and can cause damage to cars or other property. The tree is also suitable for large estates, municipal parks and along rivers and dams on farms. An especially useful tree for game farms: the flowers draw many insects and nectar and insect eating birds, while duiker, kudu and impala eat the fallen flowers, baboons, monkeys, bushpigs and porcupines eat the fruit, fruit bats are thought to pollinate the flowers and Charaxes butterflies also visit the tree.

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large, crumpled, trumpet-shaped blooms

  • Winter to Spring Plants will seldom bloom for the entire season as given in the list, but should flower during a period within these parameters.
  • maroon
Growth Rate
  • Fast Specifying growth rate can be very misleading as there is considerable variation of growth rate depending on type and species of plant, available water, supplementary feeding, mulching and general care, as well as the plants suitability and adaptability to the garden environment.
Plant Uses
  • Attracts bees, butterflies or other insects This plant attracts insects which can be food for birds or other creatures in your garden.
  • Attracts Birds This plant will attract birds.
  • Boundary A plant useful for planting around the edges of the property to form a green or colourful backdrop, an impenetrable hedge, to hide walls or create privacy.
  • Provides light / dappled shade A tree with an open to sparse canopy, through which varying degrees of sunlight can penetrate.
  • Wild Garden An indigenous garden planted for the benefit of wildlife and birds. Provides food, water, a variety of mini-biomes and no poisonous chemicals are used.
Distribution and Habitat

from KwaZulu-Natal to Tanzania, on riverbanks, along streams, on flood plains and in open woodland

Planting Suggestions

The old method of digging a deep hole and filling it with soil and compost has resulted in many trees failing to thrive, dying, rotting at the base or worse still, falling over in later years due to poor root development.  Refer to the following sites for the best method of planting trees: Planting a tree

International Society of Arboriculture: New Tree Planting

Tree People: Plant the right way

For those of you who have a clay problem try:

Rod's Garden: Planting in clay soil

Medicinal Uses

Ulcers, sores and syphilis are treated with preparations of the crushed dried or fresh fruits, which have antibacterial properties. The fruit is a strong purgative and causes blisters in the mouth and on the skin. The roasted seeds are eaten when food is scarce. The wood is tough and is used in Botswana and Zimbabwe for shelving, fruit boxes and dugout canoes. The roots produce a bright yellow dye.More recently, extracts from the fruits are being used as an ingredient in beauty products and skin ointments.

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