sterculia, common name for some members of the Sterculiaceae, a family of herbs, shrubs, and trees of tropical and subtropical regions. The most important members of the family are the cacao, source of cocoa and chocolate, and the cola, the caffeine-rich seeds of which are used commercially in soft drinks and medicines. Karaya, or Indian gum, from S. urens, is an inexpensive substitute for tragacanth. The family also includes several species cultivated as ornamentals, e.g., the flannel bush in the United States, the kurrajong in Australia, and the Chinese parasol tree. Sterculia is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Malvales.

Sterculia is a genus colloquially termed the tropical chestnuts.

Sterculia species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including the leaf-miner Bucculatrix xenaula, which feeds exclusively on the genus.

Sterculia species (tropical chestnuts)

  • Sterculia quadrifida – Gorarbar
  • Sterculia quinqueloba – Five-lobed sterculia
  • Sterculia ramiflora – An-ji-ur
  • Sterculia rhinopetala – Red Sterculia
  • Sterculia rogersii – Ulumbu tree
  • Sterculia scaphigera - Pang da hai, the boat Sterculia seed
  • Sterculia schliebenii
  • Sterculia tantraensis
  • Sterculia tomentosa
  • Sterculia treubii
  • Sterculia trichosiphon – Broad-leaved bottle tree
  • Sterculia urceolata
  • Sterculia urens – Gulu
  • Sterculia zastrowiana
  • Gallery of Sterculia foetida


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