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This genus is accepted, and its native range is Tropical & S. Africa.

[FTEA]

Sterculiaceae, Martin Cheek & Laurence Dorr; Nesogordonia, Laurence Dorr, Lisa Barnett. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 2007

Morphology General Habit
Monoecious perhaps sometimes dioecious, evergreen or rarely deciduous trees or shrubs
Morphology Stem
Stems often white and glabrous; bud-scales usually markedly caducous
Morphology Leaves
Leaves simple, elliptic to oblanceolate, rarely ± orbicular and then digitately lobed, usually entirely glabrous, entire, venation finely reticulate; petiole usually swollen and kneed at base and apex, usually very variable in length on a single stem
Morphology Leaves Stipules
Stipules usually caducous
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescences often from leafless axils of the stem, sometimes cauliflorous, short racemose, paniculate or fasciculate with flowers each on an articulated stalk (the upper part the pedicel, the lower peduncle) with bracts basal and often deeply bilobed
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Flowers with a single perianth whorl united at the base, valvate in bud Female flowers with apparently indehiscent, subsessile stamens forming a ring around the base of the ovary; ovary subsessile, subglobose or ellipsoid, 3–5-locular, densely hairy, the style usually very short, the stigma with pronounced lobes, as many as the carpels. Male flowers with androphore and head of 4–12 anthers, each with 2 separate thecae in one, or two ( C gigantea) rows, gynoecium vestigial, inconspicuous
sex Female
Female flowers with apparently indehiscent, subsessile stamens forming a ring around the base of the ovary; ovary subsessile, subglobose or ellipsoid, 3–5-locular, densely hairy, the style usually very short, the stigma with pronounced lobes, as many as the carpels.
sex Male
Male flowers with androphore and head of 4–12 anthers, each with 2 separate thecae in one, or two ( C gigantea) rows, gynoecium vestigial, inconspicuous
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Fruit carpels separated, each developing into indehiscent follicles or berries, each ± globose to cylindrical, pericarp firm or fleshy, inner surface glabrous, bearing 1–10 seeds
Morphology Reproductive morphology Seeds
Seeds lacking an aril, embryo orientated towards hilum
Ecology
About 125 species, restricted to evergreen forest in continental Africa. Most numerous in Guineo-Congolian Africa, but with an important secondary area of diversity in coastal eastern Africa (± 20 native species) where many of the taxa have very limited distribution, each sometimes occurring in only one or two forests.
Note
This account is based on the work of Brenan who described nearly half the species in East Africa and whose account of ‘The genus Cola in Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika’ (K.B. 11: 141, 1956) was a major step in unravelling the species of this area. In the last twenty years, since Brenan ceased work on Cola, botanical inventory work in the lowland coastal forests of Tanzania, notably by Quentin Luke, has brought to light five new species, four of which are newly described in this account. In addition a new name is provided for the Kenyan species previously known as C. clavata. Although in the allied genus Sterculia, vegetative characters, particularly leaf indumentum, are always very useful for distinguishing species, this is not so in Cola where vegetative characters are generally rather uniform. Intermittent flowering has further hampered studies in the genus. In East Africa trees often seem not to flower every year (Vollesen pers. comm.). Many species are known from very few fertile collections and in several species fruits are unknown. Some apparently dioecious trees can also produce flowers of the opposite sex earlier or later in the season or from different parts of the stem (see Brenan in K.B. 40: 87 (1985)). Many species of Cola are separated by obscure diagnostic floral characters and are consequently frequently misidentified.

[FSOM]

M. Thulin et al. Flora of Somalia, Vol. 1-4 [updated 2008] https://plants.jstor.org/collection/FLOS

Morphology General Habit
Trees, usually monoecious
Morphology Leaves
Leaves entire, lobed or digitately divided
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Flowers in axillary racemes, panicles or clusters, unisexual Male flowers with 5–12 anthers arranged in 1 or 2 whorls at the top of an androphore Female flowers with ovary of usually 4–5 coherent carpels surrounded by staminodes; carpels each with 2–many ovules; styles with stigmas equalling the number of carpels
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Calyx 4–6(–10)-lobed
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corolla
Petals absent
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Gynoecium Carpels
Carpels developing into indehiscent follicles or berries.
Distribution
Some 130 species in tropical Africa.

[FZ]

Sterculiaceae, H. Wild. Flora Zambesiaca 1:2. 1961

Morphology General Habit
Trees with entire, palmatilobed or digitately divided, petiolate leaves; petioles often with a swollen apical pulvinus, sometimes swollen at the base also.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Flowers unisexual or polygamous, usually dioecious, in axillary racemes, panicles or fascicles; pedicels usually articulated. Female flower: carpels (3) 4–5 (10) coherent; ovules 2-°o per carpel; styles as many as the loculi but often united into a single column; stigmas equalling the number of carpels. Male flower: anthers 5–12 in 1 or apparently 2 superposed rings on an androphore; vestigial carpels often sunk in the top of the androphore.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Calyx 4–5 (6)-lobed.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corolla
Petals absent.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Fruit of 3-several (or fewer by abortion) leathery or woody carpels finally splitting lengthwise.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Seeds
Seeds 1–?, without endosperm; cotyledons thick, 2 (in our species) or more.

[FTEA]
Use
Several West African species are cultivated in East Africa for their edible seeds (‘cola nuts’) which induce a feeling of alertness, well-being and contentment. The most valued species are C. nitida and C. acuminata, both widely cultivated, medium-sized trees with white flowers ± 2.5 cm across, each perianth lobe having a red basal marking.

[FSOM]
Use
C. acuminata (Pal.) Schott & Endl. and some other species have seeds with a high content of stimulating alkaloids. The seeds are chewed or used for the manufacture of cola drinks, such as Coca Cola and Pepsi Cola.

Native to:

Angola, Benin, Burkina, Cabinda, Cameroon, Cape Provinces, Central African Repu, Chad, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Gulf of Guinea Is., Ivory Coast, Kenya, KwaZulu-Natal, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Northern Provinces, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zaïre, Zimbabwe

Introduced into:

Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Sri Lanka, Trinidad-Tobago, Vietnam, Windward Is.

Cola Schott & Endl. appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
Jan 1, 1986 Thomas, D.W. [4712], Cameroon K000094666
Nigeria 18924.000
Cameroon 22644.000
Cheek [3060], Cameroon 55409.000
Cheek [3017], Cameroon 56074.000
Cheek [700], Cameroon 56189.000
Harris, D.J. [2486A], Cameroon 60057.000
Fay, J.M. [8670], Central African Republic 60370.000
Harris, D.J. [2477], Cameroon 62932.000
Harris, D.J. [1199], Central African Republic 63372.000
Harris, D.J. [2842], Cameroon 73287.000
Prenner, G. [50], Cameroon 75956.000
Etuge, M. [6498], Cameroon 77171.000
Thomas, D.W. [6899], Cameroon K000094671
Thomas, D.W. [6705], Cameroon K000094674
Letouzey, R. [14136], Cameroon K000094678
Etuge, M. [6439], Cameroon 76104.000
Thomas, D.W. [6924], Cameroon K000094675
Sonké, B. [2418], Cameroon K000460210
Mildbraed, G. W. J. [10559], Cameroon K000094664
Thomas, D.W. [5624], Cameroon K000094676
Thomas, D.W. [3206], Cameroon K000094667
Thomas, D.W. [4704], Cameroon K000094668
Olorunfemi, J. [FHI 30672], Cameroon K000094662
Thomas, D.W. [6704], Cameroon K000094677
Baker, W.J. [455], Cameroon K000460205
Olorunfemi, J. [FHI 30672], Cameroon K000094663
Thomas, D.W. [5568], Cameroon K000094670

First published in Melet. Bot.: 33 (1832)

Accepted by

  • Govaerts, R. (1999). World Checklist of Seed Plants 3(1, 2a & 2b): 1-1532. MIM, Deurne.

Literature

Flora of West Tropical Africa

  • —F.T.A. 1: 220.

Flora Zambesiaca

  • Melet. Bot.: 33 (1832) nom. conserv.

Flora of Somalia

  • Flora Somalia, Vol 2, (1999) Author: by M. Thulin [updated by M. Thulin 2008]

Flora of Tropical East Africa

  • Melet. Bot. 33 (1832)

Flora Zambesiaca
Flora Zambesiaca
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0

Flora of Somalia
Flora of Somalia
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0

Flora of Tropical East Africa
Flora of Tropical East Africa
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0

Herbarium Catalogue Specimens

Kew Backbone Distributions
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
© Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
© Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0