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  1. Family: Malvaceae Juss.
    1. Genus: Sterculia L.
      1. Sterculia rhynchocarpa K.Schum.

        This species is accepted, and its native range is Ethiopia to NE. Tanzania.


    Sterculiaceae, Martin Cheek & Laurence Dorr; Nesogordonia, Laurence Dorr, Lisa Barnett. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 2007

    Type: Tanzania, Pare District: Pare Mts, Gonja–Kisiwani [Kisuani], Engler 1523, 1563 (both B, syn., probably destroyed)
    Shrub or small tree, 0.6–9(–15) m tall, often spreading from or near the base.
    Bole often swollen, bark smooth, purplish, grey or reddish brown, sometimes peeling; young extension shoots rare, pale brown, ± 2.5 mm wide, shortly tomentellous, older stems and spur shoots very pale grey, smooth and finely ridged, 3–6 mm wide; bud-scales triangular, 1–3 mm long, 0.5–1.5 mm wide, inside densely white tomentose.
    Leaf-blade orbicular to ovate in outline, shallowly 3-lobed or entire, (0.5–)1–5(–9) cm long, (0.5–)0.8–5(–8.5) cm wide, lateral lobes always less deep than the apical lobe, apex rounded to subacuminate, base truncate to cordate, edges never meeting, subtomentellous to glabrescent above, softly tomentose to tomentellous, rarely glabrescent beneath.
    Petiole terete, orange-brown, (0.4–)0.7–2(–3.7) cm long, subtomentellous with minute stellate hairs or glabrescent
    Stipules caducous
    Inflorescences borne on ± leafless stem apices, 1–2(–10) per shoot, 1.5–3.5(–4.8) cm long, 1–2 cm wide, indumentum subtomentellous, branches 3–6(–10); pedicels 1.5–6(–10) mm long
    Flowers green, with red flush and stripes inside, widely campanulate, (5–)6–11(–13) mm long, (8–)10–14 mm wide, divided into 5 triangular, reflexed lobes (4–)6–8 mm long, (3–)4–5 mm wide, outside with scattered minute stellate hairs, inside glabrous apart from the long-hairy lobes
    Fruits with follicles ± ellipsoid in lateral view, 4–11 cm long, widest at the suture side in end view, 2–3.5 cm wide, dehiscing by 90–180 degrees, then slightly shorter and 4–6 cm wide, rostrum stout, often very long, and curved at the tip, (1–)2–4.5 cm long, stipe very short or absent, pericarp woody, 1.5–3 mm thick, outer surface grey-green, subtomentellous, with sharply raised longitudinal ridges or distinctly prickly, prickles 1–3 mm high.
    Seeds with peg-like stalks 2–4 mm long, 1 mm wide, covered with urticating hairs, persistently attached to the placenta; seeds ellipsoid–oblong, grey-black, 12–14 mm long, 5–7 mm wide, the aril apical, rounded, orange yellow or red, 2–4 mm wide, 1–2 mm high; hilum at the aril margin, round, ± 1 mm wide
    Fig 1/4, 10, p 6
    Dry bushland or woodland, usually with Acacia and Commiphora; 5–1000 m
    This species is here assessed as “Least Concern” in view of its large geographic range and still common habitat.
    Sterculia rhynchocarpa is very closely related to Sterculia africana. The leaves of the latter are generally larger than those of the former, but there is an area of overlap at which point it is very difficult to identify a specimen to species without there being fruits present, the flowers of the two species being ± identical. For this reason it is especially important to collect fruits when making collections. Since the pericarp is so woody, it is likely that if fruits are not present on the tree, they will be found on the ground throughout the year. S. rhynchocarpa is the only member of the genus in tropical Africa with warty or spiny fruits, though two more such species occur in S Africa. S. rhynchocarpa can also be distinguished from Sterculia africana by the grey-green, subtomentellous fruits (versus yellowish brown tomentose) generally with a much longer rostrum.
    Flora districts: K1 K4 K7 T3 Range: Ethiopia, Somalia
    Bark used for binding fibre, Boy Joana 7430; seeds eaten, Joy Adamson 288.


    Native to:

    Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Tanzania


    Other Data

    Sterculia rhynchocarpa K.Schum. appears in other Kew resources:


    First published in Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 34: 323 (1904)

    Accepted by

    • Cheek, M. & Dorr, L. (2007). Flora of Tropical East Africa, Sterculiaceae: 1-134.
    • Thulin, M. (ed.) in Thulin, M. (ed.) (1999). Flora of Somalia 2: 1-303. The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
    • Edwards, S., Tadesse, M. & Hedberg, I. (eds.) (1995). Flora of Ethiopia and Eritrea 2(2): 1-456. The National Herbarium, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia & The Department of Systematic Botany, Upps.


    Kew Backbone Distributions

    • Thulin, M. (ed.) in Thulin, M. (ed.) (1999). Flora of Somalia 2: 1-303. The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

    Flora of Tropical East Africa

    • Fl. Eth. 2, 2: 184, fig. 80.8: 9 (1995).
    • Blundell, Wild Fl. E Africa: 73, t. 444 (1987)
    • K.T.S.: 551 (1963)
    • E.P.A., 1: 585 (1958)
    • I.T.U.: 423 (1951)
    • T.T.C.L.: 603 (1949)
    • E.J. 34: 323 (1904)


    Flora of Tropical East Africa
    Flora of Tropical East Africa

    Kew Backbone Distributions
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2020. Published on the Internet at and
    © Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

    Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2020. Published on the Internet at and
    © Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.