A Breakfast of African Trees

For a week I’ve been out of the loop — no internet, no email, no phone. (It’s been frustratingly wonderful.) Instead of posting blogs, I’ve been touring game parks in southern Africa, seeing amazing animals and even more amazing trees and shrubs. Here’s a sample of some of the vegetation — a tasty buffet, as it were.

Every good breakfast includes an egg. So the first item on our menu of African trees and shrubs is the wild gardenia (Gardenia thunbergia). From a distance, the oval fruits resemble nothing as much as eggs perched on the ends of the branches.

Elephants, buffalo and kudu eat these fruits.

Just remove the stems before cooking.

Scrambled, poached or fried?

Next to the eggs on the breakfast buffet are sausages from the sausage tree (Kigalia africana).

Not cigars but sausages hang from this tree.

The ‘sausages’ are hard fruits eaten by animals with strong teeth. When they fall to the ground and begin to rot, they become food for smaller animals, even ants.

Pork or beef sausages? Who can tell?

If you take milk with your tea or coffee, you can choose from the milkwood tree (Sideroxylon inerme)

Contorted branches make this tree easy to identify. 

or the balloon milkweed bush (Gomphocarpus physocarpus).

The leaves of this plant are dried and finely ground to make
a snuff that is good against headaches.

The breadfruit tree (Artocarpus altilis) would supply toast for the breakfast buffet but I haven’t seen any. Also missing from my breakfast buffet is coffee. Here, the wild gardenia may help. It is a member of the Rubiaicea family. And that family includes coffee arabica.

So does the breakfast buffet in our camp. Which is where I’m heading now!