Sterculia foetida Linn., Sp.Pl. 1008. 1753. Roxb.,Fl.Ind. ed. Carey 3:154.1832; Masters in Hook.f.,l.c.; Trimen, Handb.Fl. Ceylon 1:164. 1893; Talbot, For.Fl.Bomb.Pres. & Sind 1:136.1911; Cooke,Fl.Bomb. Pres. (Reprint ed.) 1:130.1958; Cowen, Fl. Trees & Shrubs Ind.ed.5. 10.1969; S. Abedin in Pak. J.Bot.6(1):39.1974.
Vern.: Prnari, Pun.
A large, tree with whorls of horizontal branches. Leaves with 15-20 cm long petiole, palmately compound, 5-9-foliolate, leaflets elliptic-lanceolate, 6-15 cm long, 2-5 cm broad, glabrescent, entire, acute-acuminate. Flowers unisexual and bisexual on the same plant, 2-4 cm across, dull red, yellow or purplish, with offensive smell; pedicel 1.5-2.5 cm long. Calyx campanu late, 5-lobed, lobes lanceolate, patent, acute. Staminal column c. 1 cm long, recurved, hairy at the base, with 10-15 anthers grouped into a head. Carpels 5; ovary globose, densely villous, 5-lobed, 5-loculed, each locule 12-20-ovuled; gynophore 4-6 mm long. Follicles 5, smooth, boat-shaped, short beaked, c. 10 cm long, 7-8 cm broad, 10-15-seeded, red when mature. Seeds hard, smooth, oblong or ovoid-oblong, c. 2.5 cm long, black.
Type: “Habitat in India”.
Distribution: From north Australia eastwards to east tropical Africa through Malayasia, Burma, Bangla Desh, India, Ceylon and Moluccas.
A handsome tree cultivated along roadsides and in gardens for shade. The leaves and flowers are regarded to be medicinally important. The seeds are roasted and eaten like chestnuts particularly in time of scarcity. Immature seeds are not eaten as they may cause nausea and vertigo. Fibre is obtained from bark.