Look up. Do you see the sausages hanging off the tree? These peculiarly shaped fruit, which can grow up to 50 centimetres long, earned the tree its colloquial name, the sausage tree. You should never camp or park your car under a sausage tree. Even if you manage to avoid being hit by a falling sausage, you will be in trouble by the time rhinoceroses, elephants and the other great herbivores of the savanna gather around the tree to eat the fallen fruit.
Endemic to a large part of sub-Saharan Africa, the plant is also popular around the world as an ornamental tree. In addition to its decorative value, the sausage tree serves medicinal and nutritional functions. Kigelia extract, which has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, is derived from the peel. The crushed fruit can be used to make laxatives, or beer.
The inflorescence of the tree can be up to a meter long and consist of several dark red flowers. At night, the bell-shaped flowers emit a powerful scent which attracts bats. The bats drink the nectar from the flowers and pollinate them. The sausage tree flowers here in Kaisaniemi, however, are pollinated by birds, insects or air currents.