Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Sterculia Tree or Red cluster fruit " Kurrajong". in fruit in Feb 2011

20th Feb 2011.
Updated 25th Jan 2011.
The Sterculia Tree was in bloom and bearing fruit--"Red Clusters" in Feb. in Chennai on Greenways Rd. R.A.Puram and also near JK Foundation; also seen in  T'Nagar -Chennai.
It is red in colour and stands out on the branches as a fruit-as it dries it changes to a dark brown colour as seen in the next few pics and and finally the seed ( nuts) are exposed and seen. It seems, this tree flowers only at a particular time of the year. 
But, I was quite unable to identify this tree in my  tree reference book or other resources. 
Hence, sought assistance from the PWD, South Office--who confirmed it as: 
"Sterculia quadrifida", from Australia mainly; It also is called the Peanut Tree, or Red-fruited Kurrajong there.Many such trees seen in south Chennai.
The fruit although called Peanut is a misnomer but I learnt today that in San Thome where there are several such trees with fruits-and now with dry nuts (see picture taken today)  it has been eaten (apparently  mistaken as a Badam type nut) . In any case it is edible.

Gives shade and  inter-twined with reddish Bougainvilla adds beauty to a road- 
Natures simple joys & beauty reaches out-touches us the most  in the Spring Season.
Refer Australian site given below for details
3 Pics I have taken on 12th Feb are of the Tree at long range  are below: 

Pic is taken on the main road near our house-Feb 2011.This tree was a mystery to me in my study; --- seemed like an Indian Beech -type.
Learnt this variety gives red cluster fruit only once a year at this time. grows in the rain forests, vine thickets and gallery forests of coastal Queensland and north-eastern New South Wales.
AMAZING--- This is grown in Chennai--

FROM REF:,peanut_tree.html
Medium tree, 6-18m, found in dry rainforests from Richmond River NSW to nthn Australia and PNG.
Leaves are simple, alternate in pseudo-whorls, 5 12cm, shiny bright green with long petioles.
Flower is inconspicuous, creamy-white and lemon-scented, Nov - Jan.
Fruit is a large, eye-catching red capsule with about 8 shiny black seeds.
Handsome, ornamental tree, deciduous in cooler areas. Requires good drainage
Edible raw or roasted seeds taste similar to peanuts.
Fresh seeds germinate easily and quickly, sometimes within 3 days.
Used by Aborigines in N Australia to treat wounds and stings.

Sterculia quadrifida -

Peanut Tree
Sterculia quadrifida - fruit - Paul Donatiu © 2002

Alternative common names for this species include Kuman, Orange-fruited Kurrajong, Orange-fruited Sterculia, Red-fruited Kurrajong, Smooth-seeded Kurrajong, White Crowsfoot and Small-flowered Kurrajong.
The tree grows to-10 metres and has a spreading deciduous canopy. The bark is a light grey and the leaves are dark green and broad egg-shaped or sometimes heart-shaped at the base. The flowers, which are greenish-yellow and are borne in small clusters in the upper axils, occur from November to January (summer in Australia).
Seed pods are orange outside and orange or red inside when ripe. 

These pods contain up to 8 black seeds that are edible and taste like raw peanuts.
The bark is used by Aboriginal people in their traditional weaving techniques to make baskets and other products.-


  1. Trees Connect Continents -

    WE have seen three Trees like this month---
    Sausage Tree , African Tulip (AFRICA)

    Now to-
    Sterculia -AUSTRALIA
    This wonderful Nature study & Watch continues.

  2. I have a huge one at my backyerd, have to cut it as it is destroying my building. do you have any idea about its can I use its wood for furniture?