Bernieh's Sterculia quadrifida or the Peanut Tree x 1 Fruiting
Plant: Peanut tree (Sterculia quadrifida) |
Common name: Peanut Tree
Botanic name: Sterculia Quadrifida
Family: Malvaceae / Sterculiaceae
This is an Australian native and found in dry, riverine and littoral rainforests from Coraki, NSW to Northern Australia and Papua New Guinea. This tree grows to a height of 5 -10 metres and has a spreading deciduous canopy. The bark is a light grey. It’s related to the Illawarra flame tree.
It has leaves that are simple, ovate or heart-shaped and 5-12cm long. These are shiny bright green on both sides with long petioles, swollen at both ends. The young leaves and stalks are often hairy.
The flowers are rather inconspicuous. They’re greenish-yellow, lemon-scented, and are borne in small clusters in the upper axils. Flowering occurs from November to January (summer in Australia).
The fruit a large, eye-catching orange-red capsule. It’s up to 8 cm long which changes from green to orange-red on the outside at maturity. When mature, it splits open to reveal up to 8 black seeds that are edible raw or roasted and taste like raw peanuts. The seed coat or testa should be removed first when eating these.
It’s a handsome, ornamental tree, deciduous in winter. They shed their leaves in about May (depending on the extent of the Wet season) and then regrow them after they’ve fruited, usually around August-September.
Requires good drainage. Propagate from very fresh seed, which germinates easily and quickly, sometimes within 3 days.
Used by aborigines in Northern Australia to treat wounds and stings. It’s also regarded as true bush tucker.