Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Sterculia quadrifida R.Br.

Click/tap on images to enlarge
Flowers. © CSIRO
Dehisced fruit. © CSIRO
Fruit, one follicle dehiscing. © CSIRO
Dehisced fruit and side view. © W. T. Cooper
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, hypogeal germination. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO

Brown, R. (1844) Plantae Javanicae Rariores : 233. Type: Iter Australiense 1802 - 1805, R. Brown; holo: K.

Common name

Orange Fruited Sterculia; Kuman; Kurrajong; Kurrajong, Orange Fruited; Kurrajong, Smooth-seeded; Kurrajong, Red Fruited; Orange Fruited Kurrajong; Peanut Tree; Red Fruited Kurrajong; Scarlet-fruited Kurrajong; Small-flowered Kurrajong; Smooth-seeded Kurrajong; White Crowsfoot; Native Peanut; Koralba


Deciduous; leafless for a period in July or August.


Leaf blades about 5.5-17 x 3-15 cm. Stellate hairs visible with a lens on the lower surface of the leaf blade. Twig bark strong and fibrous when stripped. Pores in the twig pith visible to the naked eye and readily visible with a lens.


Inflorescence about 4-10 cm long, densely stellate hairy. Pedicels about 5-9 mm long. Flowers densely stellate hairy, perianth tube campanulate or urceolate-campanulate, about 2.5-5 mm long, inner surface pubescent or glabrous, lobes 3-4 mm long, apices cohering. Anthers about 11-17, crowded into a globular head.


Follicles obovoid to oblong, about 5-8 x 3-4 cm, densely stellate hairy on the outer surface. Seeds ellipsoid, about 17 x 6-7 mm.


Cotyledons about 18-20 mm long, margin revolute. First pair of leaves ovate to narrowly cordate, apex acuminate, margins entire. Stipules linear, about 4-5 mm long, hairy. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade ovate or narrowly cordate, apex acuminate, base cordate, glabrous, about 5-7 main lateral veins each side of the midrib; stipules narrowly or linearly triangular. Seed germination time 11 to 25 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in WA, NT, CYP, NEQ, CEQ and southwards to north-eastern New South Wales. Altitudinal range from sea level to 500 m. Grows in monsoon forest, vine thickets, drier, more seasonal rain forest and quite well developed rain forest. Also occurs in New Guinea.

Natural History & Notes

An interesting tree cultivated for its bright red boat-shaped fruits with black seeds. Trees are usually leafless while in fruit and flowering occurs just before the new leaves appear. Seeds are edible.

Aborigines in northern Queensland crushed leaves of this species and applied then to wounds. An infusion of the bark was applied or juice wrung from the inner bark was applied directly to the eyes. Cribb (1981).

RFK Code
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