S. foetida
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Malvales
Family: Malvaceae
Subfamily: Sterculioideae
Genus: Sterculia
L., 1753[1]

See text

  • Ivira Aubl.
  • Mateatia Vell.
  • Triphaca Lour.
  • Xylosterculia Kosterm.[1]
Ripe fruit capsules releasing their smooth seeds, Malaysia
S. setigera, dry capsules and seeds – MHNT
S. pruriens, wood texture – MHNT

Sterculia[2] is a genus of flowering plants in the mallow family, Malvaceae: subfamily Sterculioideae (previously placed in the now obsolete Sterculiaceae[1]). Members of the genus are colloquially known as tropical chestnuts. Sterculia may be monoecious or dioecious, and its flowers unisexual or bisexual.



A 27-million-year-old †Sterculia labrusca leaf fossil is described from the Evros region in Western Thrace, Greece.[3]


Plants of the World Online includes the following accepted species:[4]

  1. Sterculia abbreviata E.L.Taylor ex Mondragón
  2. Sterculia aberrans Tardieu
  3. Sterculia acuminatissima Merr.
  4. Sterculia aerisperma Cuatrec.
  5. Sterculia africana (Lour.) Fiori – Mopopaja tree
  6. Sterculia albidiflora Ducke
  7. Sterculia alexandri Harv. – Cape sterculia
  8. Sterculia allenii E.L.Taylor ex Al.Rodr. & D.Santam.
  9. Sterculia amazonica E.L.Taylor ex Mondragón
  10. Sterculia ampla Baker f.
  11. Sterculia apeibophylla Ducke
  12. Sterculia apetala (Jacq.) H.Karst. – Panama tree; manduvi tree
  13. Sterculia appendiculata K.Schum.
  14. Sterculia backeri Tantra
  15. Sterculia balanghas L.
  16. Sterculia bammleri K.Schum.
  17. Sterculia blumei G.Don
  18. Sterculia bolavenensis Tagane & Soulad.
  19. Sterculia bracteata Gagnep.
  20. Sterculia brevissima H.H.Hsue ex Y.Tang, M.G.Gilbert & Dorr
  21. Sterculia campaniflora Ridl.
  22. Sterculia caribaea R.Br.
  23. Sterculia carrii Tantra
  24. Sterculia ceramica R.Br.
  25. Sterculia chapelieri Baill.
  26. Sterculia cheekii Dorr
  27. Sterculia chlamydothyrsa Mildbr.
  28. Sterculia chrysodasys Miq.
  29. Sterculia cinerea A.Rich.
  30. Sterculia cochinchinensis Pierre Trôm nam in Vietnam
  31. Sterculia cognata Prain
  32. Sterculia colombiana Sprague
  33. Sterculia comorensis Baill.
  34. Sterculia comosa Wall.
  35. Sterculia conwentzii K.Schum.
  36. Sterculia cordata Blume
  37. Sterculia corrugata Little
  38. Sterculia costaricana Pittier
  39. Sterculia crassinervia Miq.
  40. Sterculia cuneifolia Miq.
  41. Sterculia curiosa (Vell.) Taroda
  42. Sterculia cuspidata R.Br.
  43. Sterculia dactylocarpa Warb.
  44. Sterculia darbyshirei Tantra
  45. Sterculia dasyphylla A.C.Sm.
  46. Sterculia dawei Sprague
  47. Sterculia duckei E.L.Taylor ex J.A.C.Silva & M.F.Silva
  48. Sterculia edelfeltii F.Muell.
  49. Sterculia ellipticifolia Fosberg
  50. Sterculia elmeri Merr.
  51. Sterculia euosma W.W.Sm.
  52. Sterculia excelsa Mart.
  53. Sterculia fanaiho Setch.
  54. Sterculia foetida L. – bastard poon tree, hazel sterculia, wild almond tree[5]
  55. Sterculia forsteri Seem.
  56. Sterculia frondosa Rich.
  57. Sterculia gengmaensis H.H.Hsue ex Y.Tang, M.G.Gilbert & Dorr
  58. Sterculia gilva Miq.
  59. Sterculia glauca A.H.Gentry
  60. Sterculia gracilipes Pierre
  61. Sterculia grandifolia R.Br.
  62. Sterculia guangxiensis S.J.Xu & P.T.Li
  63. Sterculia guapayensis Cuatrec.
  64. Sterculia guianensis Sandwith
  65. Sterculia guttata Roxb.
  66. Sterculia hainanensis Merr. & Chun
  67. Sterculia harmandii Pierre
  68. Sterculia henryi Hemsl.
  69. Sterculia hewittii Ridl.
  70. Sterculia holtzei F.Muell.
  71. Sterculia hymenocalyx K.Schum.
  72. Sterculia hypochroa PierreTrôm quạt in Vietnam
  73. Sterculia hyposticta Miq.
  74. Sterculia impressinervis H.H.Hsue
  75. Sterculia insularis R.Br.
  76. Sterculia kayae P.E.Berry
  77. Sterculia khasiana Debb. ex Biswas
  78. Sterculia kingii Prain
  79. Sterculia kingtungensis H.H.Hsue ex Y.Tang, M.G.Gilbert & Dorr
  80. Sterculia kostermansiana Tantra
  81. Sterculia lancaviensis Ridl.
  82. Sterculia lanceifolia Roxb.
  83. Sterculia lanceolata Cav.
  84. Sterculia lastoursvillensis M.Bodard & Pellegr.
  85. Sterculia laxiflora Rusby
  86. Sterculia lepidotostellata Mildbr.
  87. Sterculia linguifolia Mast.
  88. Sterculia lissophylla Pierre
  89. Sterculia longifolia Vent.
  90. Sterculia longipetiolata Merr.
  91. Sterculia macrophylla Vent.
  92. Sterculia macrostemon Tantra
  93. Sterculia madagascariensis R.Br.
  94. Sterculia maoana Doweld
  95. Sterculia mastersii Pierre
  96. Sterculia megistophylla Ridl.
  97. Sterculia membranacea Merr.
  98. Sterculia mexicana R.Br.
  99. Sterculia mhosya Engl.
  100. Sterculia micrantha Chun & H.H.Hsue
  101. Sterculia mindorensis Tantra
  102. Sterculia monosperma Vent. – China chestnut, seven sisters' fruit, pheng phok
  103. Sterculia monticola Mildbr.
  104. Sterculia morobeensis Tantra
  105. Sterculia murex Hemsl. – Lowveld chestnut
  106. Sterculia oblonga Mast.
  107. Sterculia oblongata R.Br.
  108. Sterculia ornatisepala E.L.Taylor ex D.Santam. & Al.Rodr.
  109. Sterculia palauensis Kaneh.
  110. Sterculia papuana Tantra
  111. Sterculia parkinsonii F.Muell.
  112. Sterculia parviflora Roxb. ex G.Don
  113. Sterculia parvifolia R.Br.
  114. Sterculia peekelii Mildbr.
  115. Sterculia pendula Ducke
  116. Sterculia perryae Kosterm.
  117. Sterculia peruviana (D.R.Simpson) E.L.Taylor ex Brako & Zarucchi
  118. Sterculia petenensis E.L.Taylor ex D.Santam. & Al.Rodr.
  119. Sterculia pexa Pierre
  120. Sterculia pinbienensis H.T.Tsai & P.I.Mao
  121. Sterculia pojoira Cuatrec.
  122. Sterculia ponapensis Kaneh.
  123. Sterculia principis Gagnep.
  124. Sterculia pruriens (Aubl.) K.Schum.
  125. Sterculia pseudopeltata Mildbr.
  126. Sterculia quadrifida – Gorarbar
  127. Sterculia quinqueloba (Garcke) K.Schum. – Five-lobed sterculia
  128. Sterculia radicans Gagnep.
  129. Sterculia recordiana Standl.
  130. Sterculia rhinopetala K.Schum. – Red sterculia
  131. Sterculia rhoidifolia Stapf ex Ridl.
  132. Sterculia rhynchocarpa K.Schum.
  133. Sterculia rhynchophylla K.Schum.
  134. Sterculia rigidifolia Ducke
  135. Sterculia ripicola Mildbr.
  136. Sterculia rogersii N.E. Br. – Ulumbu tree
  137. Sterculia rubiginosa VentBai rua long in Vietnam
  138. Sterculia rugosa R.Br.
  139. Sterculia sangirensis Warb.
  140. Sterculia scandens Hemsl.
  141. Sterculia schlechteri Mildbr.
  142. Sterculia schliebenii Mildbr.
  143. Sterculia scortechinii King
  144. Sterculia setigera Delile
  145. Sterculia shillinglawii F.Muell.
  146. Sterculia simaoensis Y.Y.Qian
  147. Sterculia spangleri R.Br.
  148. Sterculia spatulata Warb.
  149. Sterculia speciosa K.Schum.
  150. Sterculia stapfiana K.Schum.
  151. Sterculia stenocarpa H.J.P.Winkl.
  152. Sterculia steyermarkii E.L.Taylor ex Mondragón
  153. Sterculia stigmarota Pierre
  154. Sterculia stipulata Korth.
  155. Sterculia stipulifera Ducke
  156. Sterculia striata A.St.-Hil. & Naudin
  157. Sterculia striatiflora Mast.
  158. Sterculia subnobilis H.H.Hsue
  159. Sterculia subpeltata Blume
  160. Sterculia subracemosa Chun & H.H.Hsue
  161. Sterculia subviolacea K.Schum.
  162. Sterculia tannaensis Guillaumin
  163. Sterculia tantraensis Morat
  164. Sterculia tavia Baill.
  165. Sterculia tessmannii Mildbr.
  166. Sterculia tonkinensis Aug. DC.
  167. Sterculia tantraensis
  168. Sterculia thorelii Pierre – (Bay thua Thorel in Vietnam: S. urens var. thorelii was thought to be a synonym)
  169. Sterculia tragacantha Lindl.
  170. Sterculia tragacanthoides Engl.
  171. Sterculia urceolata Sm.
  172. Sterculia urens Roxb. – Gulu (synonym of Firmiana simplex)
  173. Sterculia urophylla Merr.
  174. Sterculia venezuelensis Pittier
  175. Sterculia versicolor Wall.
  176. Sterculia villifera Steud. – Broad-leaved bottle tree
  177. Sterculia villosa Roxb.
  178. Sterculia vitiensis Seem.
  179. Sterculia xolocotzii T. Wendt & E.L. Taylor
  180. Sterculia yatesii Merr.
  181. Sterculia yuanjiangensis H.H. Hsue & X.J.Xu
  182. Sterculia zeylanica Kosterm.
Panama tree, S. apetala



The scientific name is taken from Sterculius of Roman mythology, who was the god of manure; this is in reference to the unpleasant aroma of the flowers of this genus (e.g. Sterculia foetida).


Sterculia species are food plants for the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including the leaf miner Bucculatrix xenaula, which feeds exclusively on this genus.

Toxicity and uses

The pods, particularly those of S. foetida, contain seeds reported to be edible, with a taste similar to cocoa.[8] However, the oil contains cyclopropene fatty acids which could be carcinogenic or co-carcinogenic.[9]

Gum karaya is extracted from Sterculia species, and is used as a thickener and emulsifier in foods, as a laxative, and as a denture adhesive. In India, this is sourced from: Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madras, Madhya Pradesh and Chhota Nagpur.


  1. ^ a b c "Genus: Sterculia L." Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 2003-06-05. Archived from the original on 2011-07-21. Retrieved 2011-03-03.
  2. ^ Linnaeus C (1753) In: Species Plantarum 2: 1007.
  3. ^ Review of the Cenozoic floras and vegetation of Greece by Dimitrios Velitzelos, Johannes M. Bouchal and Thomas Denk - Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, Volume 204, May 2014, Pages 56-117
  4. ^ "Sterculia L.". Plants of the World Online, accessed 15 April 2023
  5. ^ "Species Information". Archived from the original on 2007-03-13.
  6. ^ "Firmiana simplex". The Plant List, accessed 30 June 2018.
  7. ^ "GRIN Species Records of Sterculia". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 2011-03-03.
  8. ^ The Complete Guide to Edible Wild Plants. United States Department of the Army. New York: Skyhorse Publishing. 2009. p. 96. ISBN 978-1-60239-692-0. OCLC 277203364.((cite book)): CS1 maint: others (link)
  9. ^ L. O. Hanus, P. Goldshlag, V. M. Dembitsky (2008). "Identification Of Cyclopropyl Fatty Acids In Walnut (Juglans Regia L.) Oil." Biomed Pap Med Fac Univ Palacky Olomouc Czech Repub. 2008, 152(1):41–45.