Characteristics of Javanese Olive Tree (Sterculia foetida) In the Wild

Sterculia foetida
Java Olive or Wild Almond is a species of softwood tree of the genus Sterculia which can grow up to 30-35 meters. The tree has been found in many areas, especially in India, Taiwan, Philippines, Ghana, Mozambique, Togo, Hawaii, Indonesia, and Australia.

The Javanese olive tree was first described in 1753 by Carl Linnaeus. Common names for this tree include Bastard poon tree, Java olive tree, Wild almond tree, Hazel sterculia, Kepuh, and skunk.

That said, the origin of the name ‘Sterculia’ comes from the name of the Roman god, Sterquilinus, who was the god of manure.

The Javan olive tree produces oils comparable to sunflower, soybean, and grapeseed oil for biofuel use. The extracted Javanese olive oil contains cyclopropene fatty acids such as malvalic acid and sterculic acid.

Evidence shows that Javan olives are edible, but must be roasted (processed according to standards) before eating. The fruit has medicinal effects for animals, but according to CPFA (Coupled Plasma Filtration and Adsorption), it is dangerous for human health.


Characteristics of Javanese Olive Leaf

Sterculia foetida Leaf
Source : and Kim Starr

Javan olive leaves grow at the ends of branchlets and have a petiole 1-2 cm long. The blade is a palm compound, containing 7-9 leaflets. Each leaf is 10-15 cm long and oval.


Characteristics of Javanese Olive Flower

Sterculia foetida Flower
Source : Nikharge

The flowers grow in panicles 10-15 cm long, green or purple, and are unisexual because the Javan olive tree is dioecious.


Characteristics of Javanese Olive Fruit

Sterculia foetida Fruit
Source : Goa

Javanese olive fruit consists of four to five follicles, each follicle generally contains 10-15 seeds. The follicles are dark red when the fruit is ripe.


Characteristics of Javanese Olive Tree

Sterculia foetida Tree
Source : Wicomb

The Javan olive tree is a tree that can grow to a height of 30-35 meters and a trunk diameter of up to 3 meters. The bark is smooth and gray.

This tree is often found growing in lowland forests up to 500 m above sea level, especially in somewhat dry areas. At certain times, the Javan olive tree sheds its leaves.


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