The campus of San Diego State University is just 1½ miles from me, which makes for a great walk or bike ride. However, once I get to the campus, I tend to wander around looking at buildings and plants.
There is a large Mediterranean Garden at the far north part of campus:
In the northwest corner of the garden is a sausage tree (Kigelia africana):
It’s an unassuming tree from a distance and doesn’t encourage one to go see it. However, if you do decide to go have a look at it, you’ll find big potato-like things hanging from the branches:
The sausage tree is native to tropical Africa. In addition to the one on the SDSU campus, there is one at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
The Kigelia genus contains only one species, and you’re looking at pictures of it. Sausage trees can be both evergreen or deciduous, depending on the amount of rainfall. It is related to jacarandas and catalpas, and the flowers are extremely beautiful, large, and waxy:
The fruit, a woody berry (?), can be up to 3.3 feet long and 7 inches wide, and hang down on long, rope-like peduncles.
Inside the fruit are hundreds of seeds, and since the fruits can weigh up to 22 pounds, it’s probably not a good idea to park your car under it or walk around under it without a hardhat on since they do fall to the ground.
The fruit is supposedly a cure for rheumatism, evil spirits, syphilis, constipation (it’s a strong laxative) and, wait for it, tornadoes. The raw fruit is poisonous, but when dried, roasted, or fermented, it can be made into beer, skin care products, or eaten.
It’s called a sausage tree because the fruit looks like sausages. Well, not to me! I think they look like Russet potatoes. Compare:
What’s your opinion? Looks like a potato, right?
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