Sausage Tree in Hawaii

Sausage Tree in Hawaii
Hawaii Aloha Travel > Blog > Sausage Tree in Hawaii

It may be difficult for the casual observer to identify trees by their appearance (it’s easier if they grow fruit.) But in the case of the Sausage Tree in Hawaii, it’s hard to be mistaken. Once you notice this unique tree, you’ll be spotting it again and again. Want to learn all about it? Read on for everything you need to know about the Sausage Tree. 

What is a Sausage Tree

The tree is native to tropical West Africa, and its proper name is Kigelia Africana. In Hawaii, these trees grow up to 30 feet tall. They’re marked by beautiful red flowers that open at night, and (of course) its distinct brown lobes that hang from the tree in great abundance. 

These lobes are the fruit of the tree. At one or two feet tall, they look like brown sausages, almost as though meat is growing off the tree. 

Sausage Tree fruits
Sausage Tree fruits

Where to Find Sausage Trees in Hawaii

You’ll likely spot the Kigelia Africana and its iconic fruit in Ala Moana Beach Park, UH Manoa, and Waikiki. It’s also grown in some yards by avid ornamental gardeners across the islands. 

Ornamental Trees

While the fruit is eaten by many animals, the fresh fruit is poisonous to humans. It may be dried, roasted – or fermented. You can read all about the medicinal uses of Sausage Trees here. 

While it’s grown throughout Hawaii, it doesn’t hold the same cultural value here as in parts of Africa. They’re primarily ornamental here, though the flowers do attract pollinating bats. 

Sausage Tree Blossoms
Sausage Tree Blossoms

A Word of Caution

I don’t often quote Wikipedia, but I must repeat this caution, “Planting sites should be selected carefully, as the falling fruit can cause serious injury to people and damage vehicles under the trees.”

I will refrain from any further comment about things that fall from trees in Hawaii. Feel free to insert your own joke here.