Kigelia pinnata "African Sausage Tree" Organic Well-Established Plant
These are organic 6-10" and very well-established plants.
K. pinnata is in the Bignoniaceae family and is the sole member of its genus, although it has numerous synonyms.
The species originates in Tropical Africa where it is mainly a savanna species. It is a tree with attractive form to 50 ft tall and with a shapely canopy nearly as wide as it is tall. The bark is gray and smooth when young but becoming peeling with age. The dark green pinnate leaves remain on the tree year round except in arid or cooler regions. All in all this is a very stately and wonderfully attractive tree! The flowers and fruits are the main attraction however.
The large, waxy, bell shaped flowers form on very long panicles which can be up to 15 ft long and loaded with blooms! The blooms range from deep reddish to purple and are attractively mottled with bright yellow. They are truly beautiful! The flowers are held horizontally and fully open at night to release their scent. Bats are the main pollinators of the species. After the flowers come the totally bizarre fruits which hang on long stems. These monstrous fruits can weigh over 20 lbs! They resemble large sausages hence the common name. The fruits are eaten by many animal species but are strongly purgative to humans. As an ethnobotanical this species has found a myriad of medicinal usage wherever it grows. All parts are considered medicinal but it's the fruit that sees the widest range of use. They are used to treat all manner of ailments from rheumatism, dysentery, snakebite, the list goes on and on...a veritable panacea. One more mainstream use is as a treatment for skin cancer which it is said to be very effective in removing. The fruits are also used to brew a potent beer-type beverage for ceremonial use. Many tribal cultures believe that the fruits and the tree itself can drive away evil spirits. K. pinnata is surprisingly hardy and can withstand dips into the low 20's even when young. This may be a candidate to try in zones 7-8 even. It is amenable to container culture and makes an attractive specimen in the greenhouse or sunroom.