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Useful Tropical Plants

Sterculia pruriens

(Aubl.) K.Schum.

Malvaceae

+ Synonyms

Ivira pruriens Aubl.

Common Name:

Sterculia pruriens
Drawing of the leaves, flowers, fruit and seed
Photograph by: Aublet, F. , Histoire des plantes de la Guiane Franc?oise, vol. 4: t. 279 (1775)
Creative Commons License

General Information

Sterculia pruriens is a tree with a heavy, rounded crown, commonly growing 30 metres or more tall. The straight, cylindrical bole is unbuttressed; it has a low taper, can be unbranched for up to 20 metres and 60cm or more in diameter[
378
Title
Present and Potential Commercial Timbers of the Caribbean
Publication
USDA Agricultural Handbook No. 207
Author
Longwood.F.R.
Publisher
USDA Forest Service; Washington, DC.
Year
1962
ISBN
 
Description
Quite detailed information on more than 60 species of Caribbean timber trees, giving species descriptions, habitat, detailed info on the wood and some info on other uses. Available for download on the internet.
].
The tree is harvested from the wild for local medicinal use and for its timber, which is used locally and also traded.

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

422
Title
Fruits of the Guianan Flora
Publication
 
Author
van Roosmalen. M.G.M.
Publisher
Institute of Systematic Boyany, Utrecht University; Netherlands.
Year
1985
ISBN
90-9000988-4
Description
Terse descriptions of over 1,700 species from the Guianas that bear fruits - not necessarily edible! Often mentions if the fruit is edible, plus gives brief description of habit and habitat.

Range

S. America - Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela, the Guyanas; Caribbean - Trinidad and Tobago.

Habitat

Dense primary rainforest[
378
Title
Present and Potential Commercial Timbers of the Caribbean
Publication
USDA Agricultural Handbook No. 207
Author
Longwood.F.R.
Publisher
USDA Forest Service; Washington, DC.
Year
1962
ISBN
 
Description
Quite detailed information on more than 60 species of Caribbean timber trees, giving species descriptions, habitat, detailed info on the wood and some info on other uses. Available for download on the internet.
]. Rain, marsh and creek forests, forested slopes and savannah forests[
422
Title
Fruits of the Guianan Flora
Publication
 
Author
van Roosmalen. M.G.M.
Publisher
Institute of Systematic Boyany, Utrecht University; Netherlands.
Year
1985
ISBN
90-9000988-4
Description
Terse descriptions of over 1,700 species from the Guianas that bear fruits - not necessarily edible! Often mentions if the fruit is edible, plus gives brief description of habit and habitat.
].

Properties

Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *
HabitTree
Height30.00 m
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details


The plant is not fussy as to soil conditions, succeeding in most sites, including where the drainage is poor, and thriving in poor sandy soils[
378
Title
Present and Potential Commercial Timbers of the Caribbean
Publication
USDA Agricultural Handbook No. 207
Author
Longwood.F.R.
Publisher
USDA Forest Service; Washington, DC.
Year
1962
ISBN
 
Description
Quite detailed information on more than 60 species of Caribbean timber trees, giving species descriptions, habitat, detailed info on the wood and some info on other uses. Available for download on the internet.
].

Edible Uses

Although we have seen no specific information for this species, the large seeds of many species in this genus are used for food. Usually cooked, they are rich in oil and have a flavour described by some as like peanuts[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

Medicinal

An oil extracted from the seeds is said to have several medicinal uses, especially for treating skin diseases such as mange[
697
Title
Botanical Museum Leaflets Vol 29
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Harvard University; Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Year
1983
ISBN
 
Description
Some interesting notes on plant uses in tropical America. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

The wood is mixed with tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) and administered as a soothing remedy for colds[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
].

The leaf-ash is mixed with fat or oil and used as a hair ointment when the scalp has infected sores or pimples[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
].

Several species of Sterculia contain caffeine in the leaf and seed[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
].

Other Uses

The fibrous bark is used for tying purposes and for carrying cargoes suspended from the head band. For such purposes it is strong, but is wet and sticky, and therefore not considered as good as some other species, such as several members of the Annonaceae[
592
Title
Contributions to The Flora of Venezuela.
Publication
 
Author
Steyermark J.A. Et al
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Chicago Natural History Museum; Chicago.
Year
1951 - 1957
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent flora, though made at a time when botanical knowledge of the areas was still very lacking.
].

The heartwood is whitish or greyish with numerous brown ray flecks imparting an overall brownish effect; it is not clearly demarcated from the 5cm wide band of sapwood, which is subject to discolouration by sap-staining fungi. The grain is usually straight; the texture medium to coarse; the wood is not especially fibrous as compared to some other members of the genus and is fairly lustrous. The wood is light to moderately heavy; soft; not durable when in contact with the ground. It seasons at a normal rate but with a high risk of checking and distortion; once dry it is poorly stable in service. It works easily with both hand and machine tools and does not blunt cutting edges readily; although the finish tends to be somewhat fibrous, good results are usually obtained with reasonably sharp cutting edges; compared to baromalli (Catostemma commune), this wood is slightly easier to cut and finishes to a less fibrous surface; nails are held firmly and cause no splitting; a good finish can be obtained with stains and polishes if a fair amount of rain filler is used. In general, this is not a timber of great strength and should not be used where exceptional strength is required. A lightweight hardwood of plain appearance., it is a wood of fairly good quality, somewhat lighter in colour, heavier, harder, finer textured and of better quality than the widespread Sterculia apetala of other regions in the American tropics. It is most suitable for light construction work, interior joinery, concrete forms, boxes and crates, and inside or otherwise protected wall boarding. Cheap coffins are sometimes made from the wood. The tree is suitable for papermaking, it has a very good yield of pulp and produces a very good grade of paper[
378
Title
Present and Potential Commercial Timbers of the Caribbean
Publication
USDA Agricultural Handbook No. 207
Author
Longwood.F.R.
Publisher
USDA Forest Service; Washington, DC.
Year
1962
ISBN
 
Description
Quite detailed information on more than 60 species of Caribbean timber trees, giving species descriptions, habitat, detailed info on the wood and some info on other uses. Available for download on the internet.
,
848
Title
Tropix 7
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://tropix.cirad.fr/en
Publisher
CIRAD
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line guide to the timbers of 245 species of trees.
].

Propagation

A physical dormancy caused by the hard seed coat of the mature seeds of many species in this genus can be overcome by scarifying the seed. This is carried out by cutting away or abrading some of the seed coat to allow the ingress of water, though great care must be taken not to damage the embryo[
325
Title
Seed Leaflets
Publication
 
Author
Various
Website
http://en.sl.life.ku.dk/Publikationer/Udgivelser/PopulaerPublikationer.aspx?katid={D28373CC-6EF3-4EF8-B097-6D83FABF209E}&serieid={9F1C3DB1-6E7B-4CF1-AF53-F480B0CB40EF}&sort=title
Publisher
Forest & Landscape. Denmark
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A series of leaflets, jointly produced by the University of Copenhagen and the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, focussing on seed information for a number species, but also giving a lot of other information about each plant.
]. The aril surrounding the seed should also be removed - this is easiest when it has been softened through soaking in water[
325
Title
Seed Leaflets
Publication
 
Author
Various
Website
http://en.sl.life.ku.dk/Publikationer/Udgivelser/PopulaerPublikationer.aspx?katid={D28373CC-6EF3-4EF8-B097-6D83FABF209E}&serieid={9F1C3DB1-6E7B-4CF1-AF53-F480B0CB40EF}&sort=title
Publisher
Forest & Landscape. Denmark
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A series of leaflets, jointly produced by the University of Copenhagen and the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, focussing on seed information for a number species, but also giving a lot of other information about each plant.
]. The seeds germinate optimally at temperatures between 20 - 30°c. They can be sown in a nursery seedbed or in containers. A germination rate of about 95%, occurring within about 2 weeks can be expected if the seed has been properly treated[
325
Title
Seed Leaflets
Publication
 
Author
Various
Website
http://en.sl.life.ku.dk/Publikationer/Udgivelser/PopulaerPublikationer.aspx?katid={D28373CC-6EF3-4EF8-B097-6D83FABF209E}&serieid={9F1C3DB1-6E7B-4CF1-AF53-F480B0CB40EF}&sort=title
Publisher
Forest & Landscape. Denmark
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A series of leaflets, jointly produced by the University of Copenhagen and the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, focussing on seed information for a number species, but also giving a lot of other information about each plant.
].
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2019-09-23. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Sterculia+pruriens>

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