Sterculia quadrifida, Fam. Sterculiaceae
Small to medium, deciduous tree with attractive, ornamental foliage and fruit and greyish fawn, smooth to slightly scaly or pimply bark.
|Form or habit:||Small tree, Med tree|
Simple, entire, alternate but clustered in pseudo-whorls at the tips, oblong-ovate with a cordate base, 5-14cm long. Mature leaves green and glabrous on both surfaces, young leaves bright, light green, sometimes with scattered stellate hairs. Petioles slender, 1-5cm long, with a swelling at each end.
Yellow, Cream, Green
|Flower description:||Numerous short racemes of creamy green to dull yellow, hairy, unisexual, bell shaped flowers amongst upper leaves, lemon scented. The bells are made from the sepals, petals are absent. Mainly spring and summer.|
|Fruit description:||Boat shaped follicles, 5-7cm long, firm to almost woody, bright orange red when ripe, open to reveal 2-8 glabrous ovoid seeds, 13-18mm long with a thin, shiny blue black skin covering the creamy white kernel.|
|Habitat:||Gallery (riverine or riparian) forest, littoral rainforest, open forest, rainforest.|
|Distribution||Queensland, New South Wales, Northern Territory, Western Australia, New Guinea.|
|Food source for:||Seed eaten by the white quilled rock pigeon and chestnut quilled rock pigeon. Flowers eaten by the golden shouldered parrot. Larvae of the moth Tonica effractella tunnel into the stems.|
|Toxicity:||No toxicity known|
|Origin:||Australia, New Guinea.|
|Notes:||Prefers well drained soils, moderately resistant to drought. The seed are edible raw or cooked and, as the common name suggests, they taste like peanuts; it is preferable to remove the black 'skin' from the seeds as it is generally quite bitter. Fresh seed germinates within a few days, germination may be improved by pouring hot water over the seed and allowing it to soak for at least 24 hours. Seed is difficult to store. Fibre from the bark was used by Aborigines for making twine, rope, fishing lines and nets. Leaves were used in cooking and where applied to stingray and stonefish stings and other wounds. A bark infusion was used for sore eyes or mixed with breast milk for eye drops. Seasoned timber is light grey, very soft, light and close grained.|
|Information sources:||Melzer R. & Plumb J. (2007) Plants of Capricornia.|