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Genus: Cola

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > Eudicotyledons > Core Eudicots > Rosids > Eurosid II > Order: Malvales > Family: Malvaceae

Formerly in Sterculiaceae. Over 100 species, all African. Three species native to southern Africa and a further species is cultivated in the region. Cola acuminata (Cola nut tree or Abata kola) is native to West Africa and the seeds, termed cola nuts, are chewed for their stimulatory effect, caused by caffeine and small amounts of theobromine. Cola soft drinks were originally flavoured with cola nut extracts but synthetic chemicals are now used.

Species native to southern Africa

List from Plants of Southern Africa - an Online Checklist (SANBI), Flora of Zimbabwe and Flora of Mozambique.

Cola greenwayi (Zulu coshwood)

See Flora of Zimbabwe.


Cola mossambicensis

Recorded from Mozambique. See Flora of Mozambique.


Cola natalensis (Coshwood)


Other species, cultivated in southern Africa

Information from Glen (2002).

Cola quinqueloba (Cola nut tree)

Native to tropical Africa.



  • Glen, H.F. 2002. Cultivated Plants of Southern Africa. Jacana, Johannesburg.


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