SelecTree: Tree Detail

SKUNK TREE
Sterculia foetida

Sterculia foetida Sterculia foetida Sterculia foetida Sterculia foetida Sterculia foetida Sterculia foetida Sterculia foetida Sterculia foetida Sterculia foetida Sterculia foetida Sterculia foetida Sterculia foetida Sterculia foetida Sterculia foetida Sterculia foetida

Photo Locations: Cal Poly State University - San Luis Obispo, CA, University of Miami - Miami, FL and Honolulu, HI

General Notes

This tree’s flowers, which appear in winter and spring shortly after the new leaves, have an unmistakable odor of bad breath and rotting meat. The seeds are eaten raw, which may be toxic, or roasted, which eliminated any poison. The seed oil is used as a lubricant, and the seeds are used in lei making. Sterculia foetida has a HPWRA (Hawai'i Pacific Weed Risk Assessment) score of 3 (Evaluate).

Has Unpleasant Bark, Flower, Leaf and Pollen fragrance.

Native to Old World Tropics.

Family: Malvaceae

Additional Common Names

STINKY STERCULIA, HAZEL STERCULIA, SKUNK TREE, JAVA OLIVE TREE, WILD ALMOND TREE, BANGAR, KALUMPANG

Tree Characteristics

Erect with a High Canopy.

Rounded Shape.

Has Partly Deciduous foliage.

Height: 20 - 115 feet.

Width: 20 - 30 feet.

Growth Rate: 24 Inches per Year.

Longevity 50 to 150 years.

Leaves Palmately Compound, Green, Red or Purple or Bronze, Partly Deciduous.

Flowers Showy. Unpleasant Flower Fragrance. Red. Flowers in Spring. Has perfect flowers (male and female parts in each flower).

Prolific, Red Brown Follicle, Very Large (Over 3.00 inches), fruiting in Spring Edible.

Bark Light Gray-Brown, Rough or Smooth.

Shading Capacity Rated as Moderate in Leaf.

Shading Capacity Rated as Moderate out of Leaf.

Litter Issue is Flowers, Dry Fruit and Leaves.

Tree Site Conditions & Constraints

Sunset Zones H1, H2.

USDA Hardiness Zones 10 - 12.

Exposure Full Sun.

Moist to Dry and Well Drained Soil.

Drought tolerant.

Loam or Sand Texture.

Slightly Acidic to Neutral Soil pH.

Health, Safety & Environmental Concerns

Branch Strength Rated as Strong.

Poisonous Health Hazard.

Attracts Bats.

Special Uses & Values

Flowering Tree, Specimen Tree, Xerophytic.

Cite this tree:
SelecTree. "Sterculia foetida Tree Record." 1995-2020. Aug 14, 2020.
< https://selectree.calpoly.edu/tree-detail/sterculia-foetida >

This tree is not part of the SelecTree Nursery Connection. If you would like to see this tree listed, or know of a nursery that sells it, please contact us at ufei@calpoly.edu.