Singapore Government Logo

A Singapore Government Agency Website

Cola nitida


Cola nitida

Family Name: Malvaceae
Synonyms: Abelmoschus nitida
Common Name: Cola Nut, Kola, Kola Nut, Bitter Cola Tree, Guru Nut, Gurru Nuts, Bissy Nuts, Cola Seeds


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Growth Form Tree
Maximum Height 20 m to 25 m


Native Distribution West Africa

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Medium-sized tree.
Foliage Deeply veined, smooth leaves are elliptic with entire (smooth) leaf margin and acuminate (pointed) leaf apex. Leaves have alternate leaf arrangement (leaves occur singly on alternating sides of the branch).
Flowers Flowers are either greenish-yellow or white with purple edges.
Fruits Plants start to produce seed pods at about 7 years of age. Light green, dry pods have a wrinkled, uneven texture and a curved ridge that runs along the length of the pod. They split in half to release cream-coloured to light brown irregular seeds.
Habitat Occurs in tropical forests.
Cultivation This species is easy-to-grow. Propagate by seeds. Allow seeds to soak in water for 24 hours before planting and place in a warm location (about 29oC) to promote germination.
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts (Edible Seeds)
Food (Herb and Spice : The seeds (known as Cola nuts) were an original ingredient in the Coca-Cola soft drink.)
Medicinal ( Chewing the seeds has a stimulating effect.)

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate


Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 4.0 (Tree - Dense Canopy)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower Colour(s) White

Image Repository



Master ID 1529
Species ID 2822
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 25 May 2023.