Kigelia aethiopica Decne

Kigelia pinnata DC.


Local names: African sausage tree, cucumber tree (Engl.).


The African sausage tree is found in cultivation in Manila and in Los Baños, Laguna Province. It is a native of West Tropical Africa.


This recently introduced plant is a wide-spreading, deciduous tree about 10 meters in height. The leaves are alternate and odd pinnate. The leaflets are opposite, ovate to elliptic-ovate, 8 to 16 centimeters long, and pointed or blunt at the tip. The flowers are red, noctural, and borne in panicles on very long, pendulous pedicels. The calyx is 2.5 to 3 centimeters long, usually 5-toothed, or lobed. The corolla is 10 to 12 centimeters long, the tube is rather slender and the limb, broadly bell-shaped, somewhat curved, and 5-lobed. The fruit is hard, grayish-brown, scurfy, large, oblong or oblong-cylindric, 20 to 30 centimeters in length, indehiscent, and hanging on very long peduncles.


According to Boorsma the bark contains only a bitter principle and tannic acid.


According to Dalziel in Northern Nigeria the fruit is sold as medicine in markets, being said to be used as a purgative in some districts, and as a cure for dysentery elsewhere. In the Gold Coast the fruit, cut up and boiled with peppers, is given for constipation and piles, while the bark and fruit are used to heal sores and to restore the taste. The bark has a somewhat bitter taste; it is used in Northern Nigeria both for syphilitic conditions and for gonorrhoea. In Southern Nigeria it is similarly used, and also is given along with the fruit as a wash and drink for young children. The Gold Coast people use the bark as a cure for rheumatism and dysentery.

Watt and Breyer-Brandwijk say that the Tongas apply the powdered fruit as a dressing to ulcers. The unripe fruit is used in Central Africa as a dressing in cases of syphilis and rheumatism. In Nyasaland, in times of scarcity, natives roast and eat the seeds.


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