Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Cola, Cola Nut, Kola, Bissy Nut
Cola acuminata

Family: Malvaceae (mal-VAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Cola (KOH-luh) (Info)
Species: acuminata (ah-kew-min-AY-tuh) (Info)

Synonym:Bichea acuminata
Synonym:Bichea solitaria

8 members have or want this plant for trade.


15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)
20-30 ft. (6-9 m)
30-40 ft. (9-12 m)
over 40 ft. (12 m)

Unknown - Tell us

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 °C (40 °F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
Scarlet (Dark Red)
Pale Yellow

Bloom Time:
Late Winter/Early Spring
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
From woody stem cuttings
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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By Monocromatico
Thumbnail #1 of Cola acuminata by Monocromatico

By Monocromatico
Thumbnail #2 of Cola acuminata by Monocromatico

By Monocromatico
Thumbnail #3 of Cola acuminata by Monocromatico

By Monocromatico
Thumbnail #4 of Cola acuminata by Monocromatico

By growin
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By johy_margi
Thumbnail #6 of Cola acuminata by johy_margi

By johy_margi
Thumbnail #7 of Cola acuminata by johy_margi

There are a total of 8 photos.
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1 positive
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Monocromatico On Oct 25, 2003, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro
Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:

You are right. This is the plant from which the Cola Syrup, used on Cola drinks (Coca Cola, Pepsi, etc.), is obtained. The nuts contain lots of caffeine, and are traditionally used in Africa as a medicine. Now itīs commercially cultivated in many tropical countries.

This is a not so tall tree, starting to bloom when itīs still around 5 meters tall, reaching up to 15 meters. It has a grey, thin bark, and a dense foliage. The leaves are bright green, shiny, a bit keeled in the middle.

The flowers come in panicles, bearing 10-30 flowers. There are male and perfect flowers, but thereīs not much difference between them (of course, only the perfect flowers will produce nuts). They lack petals, but the sepals are gorgeous. The flowers are star shaped, pale yellow or white, with scarlet traces in the middle, on the edge of the sepals, and on the tips. The stamens are red and fused with the female part.

The fruits are rough green folicles, usually 2 per flower (but sometimes up to 5). Each folicle has 5 nuts. Eating raw seeds is not recomended, you should look firstly for further information on how to use them.

This plant needs heat. I know one experimental seedling in Arizona, and itīs recomended for zone 11. It also needs regular watering, drained organic soil and full sun. Itīs a slow grower, starting to produce seeds only 7-10 years after planted, but will keep producing for over than 70 years.

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