Cola nitida – Kola Nut (plant)
Cola nitida is native to west Africa and now cultivated around the world for its seeds, called kola or cola nuts. It grows in tropical rainforests that receive 1200-1800mm of rainfall each year and with a distinct wet and dry season. Male and female flowers are borne on separate trees. Seeds can be white/green or red and are surrounded by a sweet tasting flesh.
The fresh seeds of Cola nitida contain around 3% caffeine as well as smaller amounts of theobromine and phenolics. Cola nuts stimulate the secretion of gastric juices, have a stimulating effect on the central nervous system and heart, have positive chronotropic and weak diuretic effects. Extracts are used in energy drinks and soft drinks (ie. Coca-Cola).
Care and Cultivation of Cola nitida
Cola nitida is an evergreen tree that can grow to 20m tall. Like a rich soil with good drainage. Fertilise moderately over the warmer months. Keep in a warmish place such as a hothouse over winter until large enough to deal with colder temperatures. This season we have left a number of our plants outside and they deal very well with colder temperatures around zero.
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