Popularly known as the Sausage Tree, Kigelia africana from family Bignoniaceae originated from tropical Africa covering Eritrea and Chad south to northern Africa, and west from Senegal to Namibia. Kigelia's named after the Mozambican name, ‘kigeli-keia’ and africana indicated its origin, Africa. The common Sausage Tree name refers to its long, sausage-like fruit that can be easily recognised hanging from its branches.
Kigelia africana is a medium to large sized tree up to 25 m tall. The bark is grey in colour with smooth texture at first, peeling on older trees. The leaves are pinnate and arranged in opposite or in whorls of three. The flowers are bell-shaped, orange to reddish or purplish green in colour and about 10 cm wide. The flowers produces a scent that is most intense at night indicating that they are adapted to pollination by bats. The fruits are huge, grey-brown in colour, woody berry from 30- 100 cm long and up to 18 cm broad and can weight up to 10 kg. The fruit pulp within the thin skin is firm and fibrous and contains many small seeds that are eaten by mammals, including baboons, giraffes and monkeys. The seeds are then dispersed in their dung.
This tree can be found near Oasis Garden and Heliconia Garden by Jalan Tembusu in our Botanic Garden. The uniqueness of the fruits becomes the eye-catcher to the visitors because of its showy hanging, giant, woody fruits. The fruit has antibacterial properties thus, traditional remedies prepared from crushed, dried or fresh fruits are used to deal with ulcers, sores and syphilis. Today, beauty products and skin ointments are prepared from fruit extracts.
Syazwani Binti Azeman
Perdana Botanical Garden
Couroupita guianensis or commonly known as Cannonball tree is from family Lecythidaceae native to the southern Caribbean and northern parts of South America but has been widely planted in different tropical and semi-tropical areas around the world. It is popularly known as Cannonball tree because the fruits are like cannonballs, round and heavy and when falling to the ground they produce an explosive noise. This species is cultivated in many tropical areas throughout the world because of its elegant, colourful fragrant flowers and large, interesting fruits.
It is a deciduous tree with a dense crown. This species can grow up to 35 m tall with diameter up to 50 cm. The leaves occur in clusters at the end of branches and can be up to 30 cm long. The flowers are large, to 80 cm long, pink to reddish in colour and mainly pollinated by carpenter bees (Xylocopa spp.) and bats. The fruit are globose, large with diameter up to 25 cm, woody and brown in colour. Each fruits contains about 200- 300 seeds, soft-red in colour which turns bluish-green when exposed to air. The fruit produced an unpleasant smell when ripe and open. In its natural habitat, the fruit pulp is eaten by wild animals like pecaries. Both the fruit and flowers actually grows on a woody extrusion that grows directly from the trunk.
This species is among the most common ornamental tree that can be found planted in many botanical gardens around the world. The showy fruits and flowers become the main attractions and this tree is grown for its interesting botanical features and also as an ornamental plant. Traditionally extracts from tree’s tissues are used by Amazonian Shamans to treat malaria, as they have antiseptic and antifungal properties.
Syazwani Binti Azeman
Perdana Botanical Garden
We are very familiar with the golden shower tree, the Cassia fistula, with its beautiful yellow flowers covering the whole crown during its flowering season. There are hybrids of Cassia fistula with Cassia javanica or Cassia bakeriana. One such hybrid can be seen at the Dataran in PBG. The showers of flowers looks very much like that of Cassia fistula x javanica. The tree is a compact tree suitable for a small garden. It is not commonly found here unlike the Cassia fistula. Cassia javanica or Apple blossom cassia although a native of the neighbouring island of Java is also not common here. Cassia fistula is a native of the Indian subcontinent and South East Asia. The genus Cassia L. is in the family Fabaceae, which is the pea family. It is a treat to catch the tree flowering although it was not as showy as the Cassia fistula in bloom.
When we had our collection of the Bottle Trees from Madagascar supplied by a nursery in Johore, we were not sure if the name given was correct. Initially we were informed that the trees were Adansonias, or Baobab trees. They were however later identified as the Moringa drouhardii, as evident from the showers of flowers in the pictures taken.
We are familiar with the Moringa oleifera ,which is the most widely cultivated species of the genus Moringa. Common names in English include: moringa, drumstick tree, horseradish tree, ben oil tree, or benzoil tree. This species that we plant in this region is a small tree that provides us with the “drumstick “ fruit we add to curries and leaves that are delicious fried with egg.
Moringa drouhardii, Moringa hildebrandtii Engler andMoringa ovalifolia Dinter ex Berger are big trees with swollen trunks and resemble the Baobab trees of Madagascar, though unrelated.
In the collection of trees that lend their names to the places in Malaysia, we have the Merlimau tree. Coming across the tree flowering was a pleasant surprise. Merlimau is a small town in Malacca. Limau is the Malay word for lime and it is understandable that the prefix “mer” is added on as the tree is described as the false lime.
Shrubs or trees, 2-13 m tall; branches gray-yellow to gray-brown, glabrous. Leaf blade obovate-elliptic to obovate-lanceolate or oblong-elliptic. Inflorescences pedunculate cymules. Flowers 5-8 mm in diameter. Male flowers : sepals orbicular, margin shallowly serrate; stamens 30-60; disk glands small, inserted at base of filaments. Female flowers : disk annular; ovary globose, glabrous; styles 3, horizontal, 2-lobed, lobes shallowly bifid to irregularly multifid. Sepals persistent in fruit; capsule globose, 11-15 mm, slightly fleshy, subglabrous, 3 seeded.
Suregada multiflora is the medicinal plants of Bangladesh. The bark of Suregada multiflora have a potential to be anti-allergic. This Flower of India also used to provide shade at park.