Kola nut: A Bit of Botany
a little bit of botanical information on kola nut

Cola acuminata belongs to the Malvaceae family. It is an evergreen tree that grows to about 20 meters in height. It has long, ovoid leaves which are pointed at both the ends with a leathery texture.

The trees bear yellow flowers with purple spots, and star-shaped fruit. Inside the fruit, about a dozen round or square seeds can be found in a white seed shell.

The kola nut’s aroma is sweet and rose-like. The first taste is bitter, but it sweetens upon chewing.

common names & nomenclature
The genus name Cola is a Latinized form of a West African name of the tree (Temne: kola, Mandingo: kolo).

Also known as:
kola vera, sterculia acuminate, kola seeds, gurru nuts, bissy nuts, cola seeds, guru nut

Kola Nut, bitter-sweet
Kola nut: Where in the World
habitat and range for kola nut

Cola acuminata grows in the forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa, the Sierra Leone and North Ashanti near the sources of the Nile, also cultivated in tropical Western Africa, West Indies, Brazil, and Java.

Kola nut: Cultivation & Harvesting
considerations for growing and harvesting kola nut

Kola nut trees are usually found growing near the sea-coast or in tropical rainforest conditions. The trees need a hot humid climate, however they can withstand a dry season on sites with a high ground water level. Kola nut trees may be cultivated in drier areas where ground water is available.

Kola nut trees prefer a deep, rich, fertile soil.

Kola nut trees are usually grown from seed, although cuttings are sometimes used. Trees will bear in 7-10 years from seeding.

Sow seeds in a greenhouse in rich soil. When seedlings are large enough to handle, transplant them to individual containers.

Kola nuts can be harvested mechanically or by hand, by plucking them at the tree branch. They are dried and may be ground into powder for later use.

Store dried kola nut powder in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.