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Sterculia monosperma


Sterculia monosperma Vent.

Family Name: Malvaceae
Synonyms: Sterculia nobilis
Common Name: Seven Sisters' Fruit, China Chestnut, Kelompang


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

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Tree
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic


Native Distribution Southern China, Taiwan, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical

Description and Ethnobotany

Others - Plant Morphology Growth Form: Large tree with rounded crown. Habitat: Occurs in dense, tropical forests. Trunk: Bark is brown to black. Foliage: Glabrous leaves are oblong or elliptic with wavy leaf margin (8 - 25 cm long, 5 - 15 cm wide). Leaves have short petioles (2 - 3.5 cm) and 6 - 10 lateral veins (veins directly connected to the midvein). Flowers: Unisexual flowers lack petals, but have a creamy white, bell-shaped calyx (outermost layer of the flower) that becomes reddish (1 cm wide). The calyx has 5 - 6 linear lobes that arch towards the center and unite at the apex. Male flowers are more numerous than female flowers which are slightly larger. Fruits: Bright red, leathery fruits are known as follicles which break open along 1 seam (5 cm long, 2 - 3 cm wide). Fruits have a pointed apex and contain 1 - 4 ellipsoid, brown to black seeds. Landscaping: This species has an attractive shape and provides excellent shade. Cultivation: Plant this species in fertile, well-drained soil. Propagation: Propagate by seed or stem cuttings. Etymology: The genus "Sterculia" is named after the Roman god Sterculius, the god of manure. The reference is to the foul-smelling flowers of some species in this genus. The species epithet "monosperma" means one-seeded and is derived from the Greek words for single ("monos") and seed ("sperma"). It refers to how fruits often contain only 1 large seed.
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts (Edible Stems)
[Others]: Food: Although some sources state that boiled seeds are edible, Berry (1980) found that the seed oil contains 19% cyclopropenoid fatty acids (CPFA), compounds shown to cause physiological problems in animals. Cooking the seeds did not significantly reduce the amount of CPFA, so it is best not to eat the seeds.

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers, Ornamental Fruits
Usage Hazard - Cons Toxic Upon Ingestion
Usage Hazard - Cons Remarks Seeds are poisonous upon ingestion.

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Seed or Spore Dispersal Abiotic (Gravity)

Plant Care and Propagation

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


Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Smooth, Glossy / Shiny, Leathery
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Elliptical, Oblong)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Entire - Wavy / Undulate
Foliar Apex - Tip Acute, Obtuse
Foliar Base Rounded / Obtuse
Typical Foliar Area Macrophyll ( 182.25cm2 - 1640.25 cm2 )
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 3.0 (Tree - Intermediate Canopy)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower Colour(s) Red
Flower Symmetry Radial
Individual Flower Shape Campaulate / Bell-shaped
Inflorescence Type Panicle

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) - Angiosperms and Gymnosperms Red
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type 1 Dehiscent Dry Fruit
Fruit Type 2 Follicle

Image Repository



Master ID 1846
Species ID 3139
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: 18 February 2022.