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Useful Tropical Plants

Sterculia tragacantha

Lindl.

Malvaceae

+ Synonyms

Clompanus pubescens Kuntze

Common Name:

Sterculia tragacantha
Tree in cultivation
Photograph by: David Stang
Creative Commons License
Sterculia tragacantha Sterculia tragacantha Sterculia tragacantha Sterculia tragacantha Sterculia tragacantha

General Information

Sterculia tragacantha is sometimes a deciduous shrub growing 5 - 12 metres tall, but more often it becomes a tree up to 25 metres tall with exceptional specimens to 40 metres. The crown tends to be fairly small and sparsely branched[
307
Title
Tropical and Subtropical Trees - A Worldwide Encyclopaedic Guide.
Publication
 
Author
Barwick. M.
Publisher
Thames & Hudson, London
Year
2004
ISBN
0-500-51181-0
Description
A superb book, very concise and well written, giving a wealth of information on 400 or more species including descriptions, habitat, cultivation details and plant uses. A wealth of colour photographs bring each plant vividly to life.
]. The bole, which sometimes has winged buttresses, can be 75cm in diameter and unbranched for up to 18 metres[
328
Title
African Flowering Plants Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.ville-ge.ch/musinfo/bd/cjb/africa/recherche.php
Publisher
Conservatoire et Jardin Botaniques.
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Contains information on over 150,000 plant names (including synonyms) giving a description and habitat, plus a distribution map.
].
The tree is valued especially for the gum obtained from its trunk, which has a range of applications. The young leaves are sometimes an important local food[
617
Title
Traditional Vegetables in Benin
Publication
 
Author
Achigan-Dako E. Et al
Publisher
Darwin Initiative; International Foundation for Science
Year
2009
ISBN
 
Description
Issued as a PDF on the Internet, it contains basic information on over 250 species of plants used for food in Benin.
].

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
,
515
Title
Flora of Tropical Africa Vol 1 - 8
Publication
 
Author
Var
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
L.Reeve & Co.; Ashford, Kent.
Year
1868 - 1917
ISBN
 
Description
Very little information on habitat, range and uses, but gives good descriptions of the plants. It can be downloaded from the internet.

Range

Tropical Africa - Sierra Leone to DR Congo, south to Angola, Zambia and Tanzania.

Habitat

Mangrove; open and drier parts of rain and swampy forests; secondary and transition forests; gallery forest; wooded savannah; at elevations from near sea level to about 1,500 metres[
328
Title
African Flowering Plants Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.ville-ge.ch/musinfo/bd/cjb/africa/recherche.php
Publisher
Conservatoire et Jardin Botaniques.
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Contains information on over 150,000 plant names (including synonyms) giving a description and habitat, plus a distribution map.
]. Often found in groups at forest edges[
484
Title
West African Forests and Forestry
Publication
 
Author
Unwin A.H.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
T. Fisher Unwin Ltd.; London
Year
1920
ISBN
 
Description
Quite extensive information on some of the trees of West Africa. The book can be downloaded from the Internet
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *
HabitDeciduous Tree
Height15.00 m
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details



The tree coppices well[
484
Title
West African Forests and Forestry
Publication
 
Author
Unwin A.H.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
T. Fisher Unwin Ltd.; London
Year
1920
ISBN
 
Description
Quite extensive information on some of the trees of West Africa. The book can be downloaded from the Internet
].

Edible Uses

Young shoots and leaves - cooked as a vegetable[
301
Title
Cornucopia II
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications, California.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-9628087-2-5
Description
The second edition of an excellent guide to the edible uses of plants, though it does not give any details of cultivation etc.
,
617
Title
Traditional Vegetables in Benin
Publication
 
Author
Achigan-Dako E. Et al
Publisher
Darwin Initiative; International Foundation for Science
Year
2009
ISBN
 
Description
Issued as a PDF on the Internet, it contains basic information on over 250 species of plants used for food in Benin.
]. The leaves are used for wrapping 'dokon', an acidic, fermented corn dumpling[
301
Title
Cornucopia II
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications, California.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-9628087-2-5
Description
The second edition of an excellent guide to the edible uses of plants, though it does not give any details of cultivation etc.
].

Seeds - cooked[
398
Title
Edible Wild Plants of Tanzania
Publication
 
Author
Ruffo, C.K.: Birnie, A. & Tengnas, B.
Publisher
Regional Land Management Unit; Nairobi.
Year
2002
ISBN
9966-896-60-0
Description
A very well presented, simple guide to growing and utilizing wild food plants in Tanzania, with line drawings of each plant, a description, habitat and range, non-food as well as food uses, plus basic information on growing the plants.
]. They can be roasted and eaten whole like peanuts, or roasted, pounded and then cooked with vegetables such as peas or pumpkins[
398
Title
Edible Wild Plants of Tanzania
Publication
 
Author
Ruffo, C.K.: Birnie, A. & Tengnas, B.
Publisher
Regional Land Management Unit; Nairobi.
Year
2002
ISBN
9966-896-60-0
Description
A very well presented, simple guide to growing and utilizing wild food plants in Tanzania, with line drawings of each plant, a description, habitat and range, non-food as well as food uses, plus basic information on growing the plants.
].

A tragacanth-like gum that exudes from the stem is used in confectionery[
301
Title
Cornucopia II
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications, California.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-9628087-2-5
Description
The second edition of an excellent guide to the edible uses of plants, though it does not give any details of cultivation etc.
].

Medicinal

The gum obtained from the trunk is used like gum tragacanth (from Astragalus gummifer). These uses are as follows:-

The gum is demulcent, though it is not often used internally because it is not completely soluble[
4
Title
A Modern Herbal.
Publication
 
Author
Grieve.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1984
ISBN
0-14-046-440-9
Description
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
]. This gum has recently been shown to stimulate the immune system and to suppress tumours[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
].
The gum has long been employed externally as a dressing for burns and is also used in lozenges in order to bind the ingredients and impart consistency to the product[
4
Title
A Modern Herbal.
Publication
 
Author
Grieve.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1984
ISBN
0-14-046-440-9
Description
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
].

Other Uses

A gum is obtained from wounds made in the trunk. It closely resembles gum tragacanth (obtained from Astragalus gummifer), and is used to adulterate gum arabic (obtained from Acacia sp.)[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
]. The gum is used in its own right as a form of gum tragacanth in the textiles, cosmetic and ice cream industries[
307
Title
Tropical and Subtropical Trees - A Worldwide Encyclopaedic Guide.
Publication
 
Author
Barwick. M.
Publisher
Thames & Hudson, London
Year
2004
ISBN
0-500-51181-0
Description
A superb book, very concise and well written, giving a wealth of information on 400 or more species including descriptions, habitat, cultivation details and plant uses. A wealth of colour photographs bring each plant vividly to life.
].

A fibre is obtained from the bark[
398
Title
Edible Wild Plants of Tanzania
Publication
 
Author
Ruffo, C.K.: Birnie, A. & Tengnas, B.
Publisher
Regional Land Management Unit; Nairobi.
Year
2002
ISBN
9966-896-60-0
Description
A very well presented, simple guide to growing and utilizing wild food plants in Tanzania, with line drawings of each plant, a description, habitat and range, non-food as well as food uses, plus basic information on growing the plants.
].

The wood is white and somewhat soft, planes easily and works up to a neat finish[
484
Title
West African Forests and Forestry
Publication
 
Author
Unwin A.H.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
T. Fisher Unwin Ltd.; London
Year
1920
ISBN
 
Description
Quite extensive information on some of the trees of West Africa. The book can be downloaded from the Internet
]. It is used for posts, boards and construction work[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
].

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. 2022-09-25. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Sterculia+tragacantha>

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