Prota 7(1): Timbers/Bois d’œuvre 1
Oliv., Fl. trop. Afr. 1: 221 (1868).
Sterculiaceae (APG: Malvaceae)
Kola mahogany (En).
Origin and geographic distribution
Cola cauliflora is distributed in southern Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon, Congo and DR Congo.
The wood of Cola cauliflora is suitable for carpentry and construction.
The heartwood of Cola cauliflora is red-brown, with fine texture; the sapwood is whitish. The wood is durable and reportedly resistant to termites. When large enough it is considered a fairly good timber of the African mahogany type.
Straggling shrub or small tree up to 9 m tall; branches sparsely hairy to glabrous; bark whitish grey, sometimes with lenticels. Leaves alternate, simple and entire; stipules narrowly lanceolate, up to 5 mm long, shortly hairy, caducous; petiole 3–12(–14) mm long, sparsely pubescent, brownish; blade narrowly elliptical to almost lanceolate, 8–22 cm × 2.5–7 cm, base cuneate, apex acuminate, thinly leathery, glabrous, brown, shiny, pinnately veined with 8–13 pairs of lateral veins. Inflorescence a fascicle arising from the trunk and branches. Flowers unisexual or bisexual, regular, whitish; pedicel 18–20 mm long, jointed; calyx shortly campanulate, 15–20 mm long, 4–6-lobed, lobes 10–12 mm long; corolla absent; male flowers with an androphore 2–6 mm long carrying 1 whorl of 16–20 stamens; female and bisexual flowers with superior ovary consisting of (3–)5–8 carpels. Fruit consisting of 1–6 ovoid to globose follicles 3.5–4.5 cm × 2–3 cm, with c. 3 mm long stipe, rounded at apex, glabrous, red or brown, exuding a mucilaginous gum when fresh, indehiscent, 1–2-seeded. Seeds ovoid, 1.5–2 cm × c. 1 cm; seed coat fibrous.
Cola comprises about 100 species and is restricted to continental Africa.
Cola cauliflora occurs in lowland semi-deciduous forest up to 600 m altitude.
Genetic resources and breeding
Cola cauliflora has a limited area of distribution and could be threatened by habitat degradation and felling, although it has not been classified by IUCN as endangered or vulnerable.
The wood of Cola cauliflora is considered to be of fairly good quality, but the tree is too small to become an important source of timber.
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• CJB & SANBI, 2006. African Flowering Plants Database. [Internet] Conservatoire et Jardin botaniques de la Ville de Genève (CJB) and South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), Pretoria, South Africa. http://www.ville-ge.ch/cjb/bd/africa/index.php. Accessed September 2006.
• Keay, R.W.J., 1958. Sterculiaceae. In: Keay, R.W.J. (Editor). Flora of West Tropical Africa. Volume 1, part 2. 2nd Edition. Crown Agents for Oversea Governments and Administrations, London, United Kingdom. pp. 310–332.
Correct citation of this article:
Brink, M., 2007. Cola cauliflora Mast. In: Louppe, D., Oteng-Amoako, A.A. & Brink, M. (Editors). Prota 7(1): Timbers/Bois d’œuvre 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.