Rusty Sterculia
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Rusty Sterculia
D Native Photo: Ashutosh Sharma
Common name: Rusty Sterculia
Botanical name: Sterculia rubiginosa    Family: Sterculiaceae (Cacao family)
Synonyms: Sterculia humilis, Sterculia obovata, Sterculia rufa

Rusty Sterculia is a bushy tree that can grow up to 20 m tall. The plant produces both unisexual and bisexual flowers. The flowers are green, yellow or white with red center, commonly covered with pink hairs, about 1.3 cm across, and occur on many-flowered flowering clusters that are 6-30 cm long. Its spirally arranged, stalked leaves have leaf blades that are papery to leathery, covered with hair below, lance-shaped, oval or egg-shaped, 7-27 cm by 3-13 cm, with 8-16 pairs of side veins and prominent venation underneath.The fruits are 3-5 seed-pods occuring in a cluster, splitting open when dry. Each follicle is oblong, red or orange-brown, densely covered with fine hair outside, 3-10 cm long by 1.5-2.5 cm wide, and contains 2-6 seeds. Rusty Sterculia grows in both forests, up to 1600 m altitude, in NE India, Andaman Is., Bangladesh, Borneo, Malaya, Myanmar, Nicobar Is., Philippines, Vietnam.

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

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