This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
(native name). Sterculiaceae. Cola. Also called Kola, Korra, Gorra. One species is much grown in the tropics for the stimulating cola nut.
The genus consists entirely of plants with unisexual or polygamous flowers in axillary or terminal clusters: calyx 4-5-cleft; petals none: fruit of 4-5 leathery or woody oblong carpels. - Probably about 40 species, of tropical Africa trees chiefly interesting for the cola nuts, which are said to sustain the natives in great feats of endurance. The tree grows on the east coast of Africa, but is very abundant on the west coast, and is now cult, in the W. Indies. Within the tropics the trade in this nut is said to be immense. It has become famous in the U. S. through many preparations for medicinal purposes and summer drinks. The seeds are about the size and appearance of a horse-chestnut, and have a bitter taste. Although repeatedly introduced to Kew, England, the plant never flowered there until 1868.
Those introduced into the West Indies and other parts of America, especially C. acuminata, thrive best on a sandy loam. The trees are grown from seeds, which are large and fleshy, keeping well for some weeks after ripening. As the tree is difficult to transplant, the seeds may be planted singly in small pots, and the young trees kept growing thus until wanted for permanent planting. Propagation may also be effected by cuttings of ripe wood, which should be placed in bottom heat, and treated in the usual way. (E. N. Reasoner.)
Schott & Endl. About 40 ft. high in Africa, resembling an apple tree: leaves alternate; petiole 1-3 in. long; blade 4-6 in. long, 1-2 in. broad, leathery, with prominent ribs below; older leaves entire, obovate, acute; younger leaves often once or twice cut near the base about half way to the midrib: flowers yellow, 15 or more in axillary and terminal panicles, about 1/2in. across, with a slender green tube and a showy yellow 6- or 5-cut limb, which is a part of the calyx: fruit 5-6 in. long. B.M.
5699 N. Taylor.†