Quiz about African Flora
Quiz about African Flora

African Flora Trivia Quiz


The Phoenix Rising's Red Crew had a stop in Africa during our Global Tour. We could not leave this continent without mentioning the plants and trees we saw on our journey.

A multiple-choice quiz by Team Phoenix Rising. Estimated time: 3 mins.
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Author
jaknginger
Time
3 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
410,491
Updated
Oct 09 22
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
8 / 10
Plays
107
Last 3 plays: DeepHistory (9/10), Guest 80 (5/10), piet (10/10).
This quiz has 2 formats: you can play it as a or as shown below.
Scroll down to the bottom for the answer key.
1. Which indigenous African fruit tree not only feeds the locals but whose oil-rich seed is used in the cosmetics industry? Hint

Shea
Date palm
Mobola plum
Avocado

2. The "bird of paradise" flowering plant belongs to a plant family named for a royal. Which royal personage is the source of the genus name? Hint

Isabella of Castile
Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
Maria Theresa of Austria
Sophie Friederike of Bavaria

3. Although the seedless variety was not produced until 1939, which fruit has origins in Africa from over 5000 years ago? Hint

Peach
Watermelon
Apple
Grape

4. What tree, indigenous to Africa, grows seed pods known as indehiscent legumes that produce a sweet but sour pulp used in cuisines around the world? Hint

Vanilla
Tamarind
Banana
Red palm

5. Adansonia digitata is one of the eight extant species of baobab, one of Africa's most iconic trees. What distinguishes it from the other seven species?

It is the only baobab species native to mainland Africa
It was introduced to Africa from Southeast Asia

6. The saintpaulia is a perennial flowering plant native to Tanzania and Kenya. What is the common name for this popular houseplant? Hint

African violet
Alyssum
Cyclamen
Golden lily

7. Considered native to Africa, this fruit tree requires a wasp for pollination. Which tree is it? If only Zacchaeus was here. Hint

Crab apple
Banana
Peach
Sycamore fig

8. Which regal bloom is the national flower of South Africa? Hint

King protea
Queen Mum agapanthus
Queen Anne's lace
Kaiser Wilhelm dahlia

9. Kigelia africana, the so-called sausage tree, is endemic to tropical Africa. Why is it called the sausage tree?

Its trunk is in the shape of a sausage
Its fruit is in the shape of a sausage

10. Blighia sapida, known by the common name of ackee, is a tree native to West Africa, whose fruits are a staple of various Caribbean cuisines. To whom does this plant owe its scientific name? Hint

A governor of Nigeria
The explorer that discovered it
The captain of HMS Bounty
A Jamaican reggae musician


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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. Which indigenous African fruit tree not only feeds the locals but whose oil-rich seed is used in the cosmetics industry?

Answer: Shea

The shea tree (Vitellaria paradoxa) is a deciduous tree which is native to the savannah regions of Africa. The name comes from the Malinese Bambara word 'shiyiri' or 'shisu' meaning Shea tree. In Senegal, the tree is called ghariti, from which the French word karite arises.

The fruit of the tree resembles a large green plum and takes months to ripen, however it is usually most productive at a time when other food is becoming harder to find. Shea caterpillars, which feed on the leaves are also eaten during the rainy season when they crawl down the trunk to bury themselves in the ground prior to forming cocoons. The extract from the shea seeds forms a butter which is a valuable source of dietary fat and is also used in local medicines and soaps. In the rest of the world, the shea butter is refined and used as an emollient in cosmetics.

This question was harvested by leith90 who wonders whether shea butter would be good on toast.
2. The "bird of paradise" flowering plant belongs to a plant family named for a royal. Which royal personage is the source of the genus name?

Answer: Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

The bird of paradise belongs to the genus Strelitzia, a name bestowed by botanist Sir Joseph Banks, who was an advisor to King George III. Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz was King George III's consort. The genus Strelitzia includes five species, all native to southern Africa. In South Africa, the plant is called the crane flower, and appears on the 50-cent coin. Pollination is by sunbirds - the bird perches on the spathe, which is a large bract that envelops the flower. Without sunbirds, the plants usually require hand pollination to reproduce. The plants have been propagated widely and are common features in gardens and arboretums when the environment is conducive to their growth. They require several years' growth before they produce flowers. The plant is toxic to dogs, cats and horses leading to mild nausea and vomiting.

Player pusdoc of Phoenix Rising's Red Crew has Strelitzia blooming in her yard.
3. Although the seedless variety was not produced until 1939, which fruit has origins in Africa from over 5000 years ago?

Answer: Watermelon

An archaeological site in Libya noted watermelon seeds from 5000 years ago. The argument is whether they originated in Libya or in other African regions. 4000-year-old Egyptian hieroglyphics depict watermelons in wall paintings and tombs, including King Tut's.

The watermelon in ancient times was bitter, not the sweet variety we enjoy today. The melons could be stored for months and were a source of water especially during the dry months.

Watermelon is from the cucumber family, Cucurbitaceae. The genus is citrullus. The bitter variety is labelled as Citrullus lanatus although is debated. China is the world's leading producer of watermelon and Florida is the leading producing state in the US.

Jaknginger prefers the seedless variety sweet and cold as well as pickled watermelon rinds.
4. What tree, indigenous to Africa, grows seed pods known as indehiscent legumes that produce a sweet but sour pulp used in cuisines around the world?

Answer: Tamarind

Tamarindus indica is a tree that grows to a medium height in a pleasing vase-like shape. It can be found growing wild throughout Africa and is a traditional food plant. The Madagascar ring-tailed lemur enjoys the fruit and leaves obtaining 50% of its food from it throughout the year. The brown pods contain a pulp that is used in cooking, as medicine and is a useful metal polish. The powder obtained from the kernel of the seed is used as a size in the processing of jute. It is also used in adhesive manufacturing. The leaves can also be eaten when young and tender, and are featured in the cuisines of Philippines and India.

Because of its multiple benefits, it has made its way around the world and can be found in many subtropical areas including India, South America, the Caribbean, Malaysia and Indonesia among others. The United States is second only to India in commercial cultivation. Its name comes for the Arabic for 'Indian date' and was known to medieval herbalists. It also got a mention from Marco Polo.

Red Crew's smpdit is very fond of the addition of tamarind in the very British H P Sauce (even though it's made in the Netherlands.)
5. Adansonia digitata is one of the eight extant species of baobab, one of Africa's most iconic trees. What distinguishes it from the other seven species?

Answer: It is the only baobab species native to mainland Africa

Also known as the African baobab, monkey-bread tree, and upside-down tree, Adansonia digitata is a native of the tropical regions of Africa, and possibly of Yemen and Oman in the Arabian Peninsula. However, some believe that the tree was introduced to those two countries, as it was to other parts of the world, which include the Caribbean, India, and parts of southern China. Of the remaining seven species of baobab, six are endemic to Madagascar (where the African baobab is also found), and one to Australia. The genus is named after French naturalist and explorer Michel Adanson, who first described Adansonia digitata in the 18th century.

The African baobab grows in the hot, dry savanna habitat that characterizes much of sub-Saharan Africa. In this challenging environment, these majestic trees provide shelter, food and water to animals and people. During the wet season, baobabs store water in their trunks and branches; they also have a number of strategies that prevent water loss in the long periods of drought typical of those regions. They also shed their leaves in the dry season, thus preventing fires, one of the major hazards of the savanna.

African baobabs can grow to very large sizes, especially as regards the diameter of their trunks. They are also very long-lived: some prominent specimens are believed to have lived to be over 2,000 years old. Their roots, fruits, and leaves are edible, and regularly foraged and consumed by the populations of the areas where these trees grow. Unfortunately, these iconic monuments of nature are threatened by pollution and climate change, which has led to the death of some of the oldest and largest baobabs in recent years.

LadyNym of Phoenix Rising's Red Crew wrote this question, saddened by the demise of so many of these magnificent trees.
6. The saintpaulia is a perennial flowering plant native to Tanzania and Kenya. What is the common name for this popular houseplant?

Answer: African violet

Saintpaulia is a section of plants in the genus Streptocarpus and is commonly known as the African violet, despite not being related to violets. Their colours range from pale pink to red through to blue/purple and their size can be classed as micro to giant. They are also sensitive to sudden temperature drops, especially through cold water which can cause the leaves to become discoloured. Many species of African violets are endangered due to the loss of the cloud rainforests through deforestation for agriculture.

This question was carefully potted by leith90, who has a brown thumb when it comes to growing plants.
7. Considered native to Africa, this fruit tree requires a wasp for pollination. Which tree is it? If only Zacchaeus was here.

Answer: Sycamore fig

The sycamore fig, sometimes spelled sycomore, has been around for thousands of years. It is mentioned several times in the Bible, both New and Old Testaments. As hinted in the question, Zacchaeus climbed the sycamore tree for a better view of Jesus. It is also a sacred tree in other religions such as Buddhism and Islam. The wood of this tree was used for Egyptian caskets. It is not just a random tree; fig trees are one of the oldest species bred for production.

The sycamore fig, or ficus sycomorus, is a very dense tree and provided shade in the harsh regions of Africa. Fig wasps are required for pollination and full fruit development. The wasp is very small and goes through a small hole in the fig where it lays eggs on the flower inside the fruit. Hence, the fruit is actually an inverted flower. Each species of wasp pollinates its own species of fig. Of course with science, some species no longer require wasps, such as the common fig, ficus carica, which is the primary fruit producer for the modern markets.

Phoenix Rising's jaknginger thinks fig preserves, cheese, and crackers are the perfect snack.
8. Which regal bloom is the national flower of South Africa?

Answer: King protea

The King protea, Protea cynaroides, is a very large bloom befitting its name. The central flowers are surrounded by colorful bracts, with the pink variety most classic. The genus Protea is named for the Greed god Proteus, who took on many different forms - the proteas similarly have a variety of flowers and leaves. The species name, cynaroides, harks to the flower's similarity to an artichoke, as Cynara is the genus that includes the artichoke. Proteas are particularly suited to the harsh environments where they live - they either require fire to cause seeds to sprout, or are able to re-sprout from fire-resistant underground stems. The King protea is in this latter group, able to produce new growth after a fire.

The flowers provide food for many sunbirds and sugarbirds, whose bills are suited for probing the flowers to reach the nutrient nectar. It is presumed that when they leave with a dusting of pollen it aids plant reproduction as they visit the next flower cluster. The King protea was named South Africa's national flower in 1976. It appears on official government documents such as passports, birth certificates, and some coins. The South African cricket team is named the Proteas.

Phoenix Rising's player pusdoc remembers the delight she experienced when she first saw proteas at the University of California Santa Cruz Arboretum.
9. Kigelia africana, the so-called sausage tree, is endemic to tropical Africa. Why is it called the sausage tree?

Answer: Its fruit is in the shape of a sausage

Also known as the cucumber tree, the sausage tree can grow up to 20 m (66 ft) tall and wide. It grows a poisonous fruit that is up to 60 cm / 24 inches long that hang down in peduncles, and resembles a sausage casing. The fruit is a woody berry but it is fibrous and full of seeds. Whilst poisonous to humans, the fruits are eaten by baboons, bush-pigs, elephants, giraffes, hippopotamuses, monkeys, and porcupines. Seeds eaten are dispersed in their dung.

The hard shell of the fruit can be hollowed out and made into containers. Some cultures, like the Kikuyu, Embu and the Akamba, dry the fruit and make an alcoholic beverage from it.

This question was picked by Phoenix Rising's 'low banana' 1nn1.
10. Blighia sapida, known by the common name of ackee, is a tree native to West Africa, whose fruits are a staple of various Caribbean cuisines. To whom does this plant owe its scientific name?

Answer: The captain of HMS Bounty

The name "ackee" for Blighia sapida, a tall evergreen tree native of the forests of West Africa, is derived from "ankye", the name given to the fruits of this tree in the Twi language of Ghana. Ackee belongs to the family Sapindaceae, also known as soapberry family, which also includes maples and the horse chestnut tree. Its generic name "Blighia" was given in honour of the infamous William Bligh, the former captain of HMS Bounty, who in 1973 transported the fruit from Jamaica (where it had been introduced from West Africa in the mid-18th century) to the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew.

Though poisonous if eaten unripe, ackee is perfectly edible when the fruit is allowed to open fully, showing its three large, black seeds. The fleshy arils are then parboiled in water or milk before being cooked with other ingredients; ackee pulp has a mild, nutty flavour, and a texture similar to scrambled eggs. The ackee is Jamaica's national fruit, and ackee and saltfish is Jamaica's official national dish. In West Africa, ackee fruits are also used as laundering agents because of their saponin content. The durable heartwood of the tree is also used for various purposes.

LadyNym of Phoenix Rising's Red Crew, who would very much like to try ackee, wrote this question.
Source: Author jaknginger

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor rossian before going online.
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