The flowers of Kigelia africana are borne on long stalks (1 cm to 11 cm) in lax, pendulous sprays. Each spray may become 90 cm in length and comprise 50 buds, but is usually shorter comprising only up to twelve buds. Once the flowering starts, only one or two buds will open each night, wither and fall before the end of the next day.
As soon as any flower of the spray has become pollinated and fertilised, the remaining buds on that spray will die, allowing a single fruit to develop, dangling below the leaves from the long string that was left of the central stalk of the spray. Rarely two fruits may develop on one string, should two flowers have been fertilised simultaneously.
The five-lobed, cup-shaped corolla of the flower is large and crumpled, spreading to 15 cm in diameter. It has a spectacular dark maroon colour on the inside and is buff or beige coloured outside, covered in conspicuous yellow veining. Four stamens protrude from the flower mouth. The ovary has one chamber.
A strongly unpleasant smell is retained around the tree while the spray is in flower. This alerts the pollinators, mainly bats as far as is known, to perform their duties in return for a rich reward in nectar secreted by the flowers. Flowering happens from midwinter through spring.
The large, sausage-shaped, grey-brown fruit that earned the tree its common name of sausage tree, may become as long as 1 m and weigh 10 kg. It contains numerous small seeds embedded in a fibrous pulp (Coates Palgrave, 2002; Van Wyk and Van Wyk, 1997).