Two highlights of the Light Tropical Shade Garden are the Ylang Ylang and Sausage Trees.
Ylang Ylang Tree
The Ylang Ylang Tree is native to tropical Asia, Indonesia, and Australia. This fast growing tree with long drooping branches can start blooming at only 3-4 years old and reaches heights of over 60 feet. Since it is such a fast grower, the wood is not very dense and the branches break easily. Fruit is small and green but matures to dark purple. Flowers start as pale green and are nearly invisible since the color blends in so well with the leaves. As the blooms mature, they turn yellow and chartreuse, which makes them much easier to see. The extremely fragrant blossoms can be smelled from quite a distance away and the fragrance is most intense at night when it attracts nocturnal pollinators such as moths. It is a key ingredient in the perfume Chanel No 5.
Sausage Tree Kiegelia
This large tree is native to tropical Africa, where it grows in open woodlands, along riverbanks and streams, and in floodplains. Flowers are bright red, tulip shaped, and bloom mainly at night to attract nocturnal pollinators such as bats and insects. Fruits grow on long, rope-like stalks and can weigh a whopping 30 pounds! Unripe fruit is actually poisonous, but once ripened, it is eaten by elephants, baboons, bush pigs, giraffe, hippos and monkeys. People bake and eat the fruit and roast the seeds. Leaves can also be eaten and have a high nutritional content.