A tree with an exquisite flower and the ugliest fruit.

(This post contains 11 images). Photography has led me into a whole new world of flora. I am no longer happy just photographing these creations, but find myself doing little studies on them as well.

I have always been fascinated by the sausage tree but then, who would not be? This amazing tree is common in India and grows in tropical Africa, including South Africa and west to Senegal and Namibia. It is also known as a cucumber tree. It can reach a height of 20m.

Sausage Tree on the bank of the Sabie River, Kruger Park, South Africa.

The flowers of this tree are quite amazing. They grow in panicles and hang down from branches on extremely long stems. The orange or maroon flowers are bell shaped and wrinkled with a waxy texture. Pollinators are bats, carpenter bees and other insects.

The fruit of the tree does not match the beauty of the flower at all. It is a large wooded looking berry which weighs between 5 and 10kg and hangs down on long, rope-like penduncles. The fruit is fibrous and has seeds. It is poisonous but can be prepared for eating by drying, roasting or fermentation. The fruit has medicinal and general uses, including skin care, beer making, and containers crafted from the shell. In the wild, fruits are eaten by baboons, porcupines, elephants, bush pigs, hippos and giraffe and the seeds are dispersed in their dung.

Green parrots and other birds eat the seeds of the fruit and the fresh green leaves are enjoyed by elephant and kudu. The bird in these pics is a Cape White Eye.

In tropical regions the tree is grown as an ornamental due to its unusual, decorative flowers and unusual fruit. One must take care however, where to plant the tree, as having one of these large fruits drop on your head or car could be quite devastating! I would love to plant this tree in my garden, but I have run out of space! Darn!

My Website : https://www.carolinestreetart.com/

The Silk Floss Tree

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