seeds of Cola nitida
Cola nitida, also called Bichia nitida (Vent.) Farw, Cola vera K.Schum or Stercula nitida Vent, is a plant species of the family Malvaceae. Originally from West Africa, Cola nitida is identified through several names including bitter cola, kola nut, kola or cola. Most of the cultivation of the plant is concentrated in Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and the Ivory Coast. Cola nitida can reach a height of 20 metres when fully mature. Butress roots are a common phenomenon in many trees which have a trunk diameter of about 1.5 metres. In addition to having fissures, the bark is also fibrous and has a brownish grey or grey colour. The tree has both male and female flowers that are shaped like a cup and have no corolla. The width of the male flowers is 2cm while that of the female flowers is 3 cm. The leaves are tough, oblong-shaped and alternate. The pollination of the flowers results in the sprouting of fruit whose dimensions in length and width are 13 cm by 7 cm respectively. The fleshy fruit eventually snaps open when the ripening process is complete and release seeds. The seeds could be of one of three different colours, i.e. brown, mottled white or reddish grey. Cola nitida finds its biggest use in the production of soft drinks. The nut has also served for many years as a stimulant when chewed. The stimulating effect is due to the presence of caffeine in the nuts. The nuts can also assist in water purification. Other parts of the tree also have their uses. The pods of the tree can be used as a substitute for the mash given to chicken. The tree also provides high-quality timber that can be used in construction and the making of furniture. The tree starts producing seed after 12 to 15 years.
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