Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia

Australian Botanic Garden




Sterculia quadrifida

The Australian Botanic Garden, Mount Annan - April

Common name peanut tree, red-fruited kurrajong
Scientific name Sterculia quadrifida R. Br.
Family  Malvaceae
Etymology

Genus: Named after Sterculius, the Roman god of dung-heaps and privies. Refers to bad smell of flowers of some species.

Species: From the Latin, quadrifida: quadri - four, fidus - split, referring to the calyx being split into four lobes.

Distribution Occurs in New Guinea, Western Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland south to north-eastern New South Wales.
Native habitat Grows in rainforests, vine thickets and gallery forests.
Description A medium tree to a height of 20 metres with a spreading deciduous canopy.
Flowering/fruiting Flowers, which can be lemon scented, appear in summer in its natural distribution and in early autumn at the Australian Botanic Garden.

Location in Garden

 In the Fruit Loop in beds 246, 252 and 257.

 

The fruit is a large, eye-catching red or orange capsule with about 8 shiny black seeds. The seeds are edible raw or roasted but the black seed coat or testa should be removed first. They apparently taste like peanuts, hence the common name.

Not only were the seeds used as food by the Aboriginal people, the bark was used to weave baskets and other products. The inner bark of this tree was also important to them as a source of string, which was used for rope, fishing nets and fishing line.

It also served as a medicine tree: the crushed leaves were applied to wounds; an infusion of the bark was used for eye complaints; and, heated leaves were pressed on stings.

Available from specialist native or bush food nurseries.

 

Sterculia quadrifida