Kigelia africana is a semi-deciduous to deciduous tree reaching a mature height of 15 to 20m when growing conditions are favourable. The genus Kigelia has one species occurring only in Africa. This tree is native to riverbanks, floodplains, open woodlands and savannas from Sub-Saharan central Africa to South Africa.
Sausage tree is characterized with a short, light brown trunk and a smooth bark which may become flaky as the tree matures. Foliage of this beautiful tree is leathery and slightly glossy. During early Spring, dark-red, trumpet shaped flowers appear in long drooping sprays. The flowers are rich in nectar but have a foul aroma. They open at night and are pollinated by bats (sometimes also by hawk moths and birds). The flowers are followed by woody, grey-brown fruits which look like very large sausages vertically suspended on long stems.
Due to the spreading crown, K. africana is suitable for planting as a shade tree. It is also a valuable agroforestry species effective in stabilizing riverbanks. This tree is also grown ornamentally around the world for enjoyment of its night-blooming, cup-shaped, red flowers and its large sausage-like fruits.
Although many of its traditional medicinal uses have not been investigated scientifically; the Sausage tree is reported to be effective in treatment of wounds, rheumatism, diarrhea and other stomach ailments.