Poplar Sterculia
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Poplar Sterculia
D Native Photo: Ashutosh Sharma
Common name: Poplar Sterculia
Botanical name: Hildegardia populifolia    Family: Sterculiaceae (Cacao family)
Synonyms: Sterculia populifolia, Sterculia candollei

Poplar Sterculia is a smooth-barked deciduous tree. Leaf-stalks are long, 5-12 cm, leaves large, 7-10 x 10 cm, round, palmately 7-nerved, deeply heart-shaped at the base, tapering at the tip, and with entire margins. The scarlet flowers are borne in leaf-axils and at branch-end, in panicles which are shorter than the leaves, up to 15 cm long. The flower buds are oblong. Sepal-cup is small, 6 mm long, scarlet, with the sepals linear-spoon-shaped and divided nearly to the base. It is downy externally. There are 10 stamens. The bristly ovary is avoid, tapering to a short style, with a 5-lobed stigma. The fruit is composed of 5 follicles, which are up to 10 cm long by 5 cm broad, obliquely lanceshaped in outline, membraneous, inflated, and strongly veined, with 2 seeds. The seeds are ovate-oblong, pale brown, and 15-20 mm long. Poplar Sterculia is only found in certain parts of the Eastern Ghats in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

Identification credit: Ashutosh Sharma Photographed in cultivation at FRLHT (TDU) Garden, Bengaluru.

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