Cola nut: cultivation, properties and care3 min read
The kola nut is native to Africa and is considered exotic by many, both for its origins and for its properties. Kola acuminata and Sudan nut are other names by which both the fruit and the kola tree are known. The first can be reddish or white inside.
Yes, this nut is part of the original soda recipe and is used to add caffeine. We tell you much more here.
What is the kola nut?
The kola nut is a tree native to tropical Africa, its flowers are white, with large fruits of intense green color. The fruit is high in caffeine and theobromine, the same as those found in coffee, tea, and chocolate.
The seeds are considered stimulants. However, the Sudan nut tree, which comes from the Malvaceae family, is not the only thing that is taken advantage of. Thanks to the flexibility and resistance of its wood, it is used for construction.
This plant has different varieties. In addition, it requires moisture and very fertile soils to grow, so it needs to be in a place that has moisture throughout the year.
Characteristics and properties of Cola acuminata
Some of the reasons why this nut is so sought after lie in its stimulating properties. It has a high caffeine content (a little more than coffee). So it is one of the ingredients to make soft drinks.
Apart from this attribute, pharmacology also seems to be of interest, since there is scientific evidence that it possesses tannins, antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. Traditional medicine also considers that it has a diuretic and digestive effect, which is observed in a study carried out in rodents by the International Journal of Physiology, Pathophysiology, and Pharmacology.
Among its active ingredients are the following:
- Alkaloid bases: caffeine, theobromine, and theophylline.
- Tannins: catechol, epicatechin, phlobaphens, and potassium salts.
Current growing area
The largest cultivation occurs in Africa. To be more precise, in equatorial Africa (Zambia, Angola, Chad). In fact, 70% of the kola nut export comes from Nigeria.
However, its plantation has also spread to countries with a similar climate, in other tropical areas, such as the Caribbean or Brazil. There, the humidity remains constant. Thus, despite being a native fruit of Africa, it can grow in various countries.
General Tips for Growing Kola Nut
The Sudan nut is very demanding, requiring specific conditions to grow healthy and strong. However, it is possible to recreate the environment. We explain what you should keep in mind.
A tropical climate is an essential requirement. The average temperature throughout the year should range from 22 to 28 degrees Celsius, with continuous rainy periods and relative humidity above 80%.
It can grow in semi-shade areas, those that receive direct sun, or that are wooded. However, what must be constant is the humid climate.
The main condition is that the soil must have the ability to retain the moisture and nutrients that the plant needs. In addition, it must contain considerable levels of organic matter, be slightly acidic, and have a clayey texture.
Despite creating the perfect conditions for the tree, it is often slow growing. It can take around 5 years to bear its first fruit, which is when it reaches maturity.
By seed multiplication
Seed is a good choice because it offers a high germination rate. Fortunately, it does not have a difficult procedure. If you want to reproduce the plant by this method, you just have to make sure to plant it in a pot with a peat substrate, and keep it moist and warm.
It usually germinates between 15 and 21 days. When the seedlings come out, you must continue with the humidity and put them in a semi-shaded place. You can only transplant it when it has grown more than 30 centimeters.