Deciduous, monoecious trees, 12-15 m tall (Payne vars.), 17-20 m tall (Eureka, Placentia, Mayette, Franquette), and rarely up to 60 m tall; bark brown or gray, smooth, fissured; leaf-scars without prominent pubescent band on upper edge; leaves alternate, foetid, pinnate, without stipules; leaflets to ovate-lanceolate, acuminate; margin irregularly serrate, glabrescent above, pubescent and glandular beneath; flowers developing from dormant bud of previous season’s growth; staminate flowers in axillary, pendulous aments 5-15 cm long, developing 1-4 million pollen grains each; flowers in axils of scales, with 2 bracteoles, perianth-segments 1-4, stamens 3-40; pistillate flowers in clusters of 3-9, developing as many nuts; in selected varieties not only terminal bud produces fruit, but all lateral buds on previous years growth also produce; perianth 4-lobed; fruit 3.5-5 cm in diameter, globose or slightly ridged, not splitting.
It grows in hill and filed-areas, and is cultivated in gardens, orchards, and vineyards.


The fruits, the skin of immature fruits, and the fruits as such.


Per 100 g, the seed is reported to contain 647-657 calories, water, protein, fat, total carbohydrate, fiber, ash Ca, Potassium, Fe, Na, K, carotene equivalent, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and ascorbic acid.

About 42% of the total phosphorus is in phytic acid; lecithin is also present. The immature fruit is one of the richest sources of ascorbic acid.

The leaves, also rich in ascorbic acid (almost 1% of the weight), are rich in carotene.

Juglone is the active compound in the leaves; also quercetin, cyanadin, kaempferol, caffeic acid, and traces of p-coumaric acid, hyperin, quercitrin, kaempferol-3-arabinoside, quercetin-3-arabinoside.

The seed oil contains palmitic, stearic, oleic, linoleic, and linolenic acids.


Stimulant, and tonic.

The nuts are used in the regular diet. They have a vitalizing, stimulant effect, and are recommended in impotence, pollutions, 100 g per day, for two weeks.

The oil: 20-40 g/day in alimentation.

Green nut tonic: cut 20 green nuts in four, insert in a bottle, together with one liter of ethylic alcohol, so that the level of alcohol is 2-3 feet higher above the nuts.

Close the bottle and keep in warm place for 2-4 weeks. Filter the liquid and place in small, dark bottles. Consume one teaspoon daily, according to your needs. You may also add 2-3 cloves, cinnamon, vanilla, orange peel, and 500 g of hydromel.

The cola nut enjoys in Africa the same appreciation as the ginseng in Asia.

The traditional African medicine considers the cola fruit (rich in caffeine) as a necessary stimulant in cases of disease, tiredness, and somnolence, as well as a reputed male aphrodisiac and woman fertilizer.

In the Islamic countries, cola helps the reconciliation of marriage. The medicinal merchants market this herb either entirely, the dried herb as a whole, or dried and grinded.

Cola is an excellent cerebral and muscular tonic. From the seeds, the indigenes prepare refreshment drinks or eat it as such. For the aphrodisiac effect, they eat the fresh nuts.

This tree grows about 40 feet high, has yellow flowers, spotted with purple; leaves 6 to 8 inches long, pointed at both ends.

The seeds are extensively used as a condiment by the natives of Western and Central tropical Africa, also by the Negroes of the West Indies and Brazil, who introduced the trees to these countries.

In Western Africa these trees are usually found growing near the sea-coast, and a big trade is carried on with the nuts by the natives of the interior- Cola being eaten by them as far as Fezzan and Tripoli.

A small piece is chewed before each meal to promote digestion; it is also thought to improve the flavor of anything eaten after it and even to render putrid water palatable; the powder is applied to cuts.

The different varieties of nuts give a greater or lesser percentage of caffeine, which is only found in the fresh state.

The seeds are said to contain a glucoside, Kolanin, but this substance appears to be a mixture of Kola red and caffeine. The seeds also contain starch, fatty matter, sugar, a fat decomposing enzyme acting on various oils.

The properties of Kola are the same as caffeine, modified only by the astringents present.

Fresh Kola Nuts have stimulant action apart from the caffeine content, but as they appear in European commerce, their action is indistinguishable from that of other caffeine drugs and Kola red is inert.

Kola is also a valuable nervine, heart tonic, a good general tonic and aphrodisiac.


Grinded seeds: 4-8 g/day
Tincture: 5-10 g/day
Fluid extract: 1-10 g/day

Elixir: 4 teaspoonfuls a day

Cola vine: 1 glass twice a day.