Sterculia foetida L.

Etymology Genus After the Roman god of fertilisation, Sterculius
Species Foul smelling
Family Malvaceae
Synonyms -
Common Names Great Sterculia, Java Olive, Kelupang, Indian Almond, Kepoh
Status Exotic: Cultivated Only
Form Tree
Native Distribution East Africa, Southeast Asia, Queensland, and the Pacific Islands


Sterculia foetida is a common cultivated tree with pagoda-like branching. The leaves are palmately compound and have long petioles. It resembles Ceiba pentandra in its form and leaves.

Interesting Facts:

The Giant Sterculia grows naturally on coastal rocky and sandy shores (Corner, 1997). It can grow up to 30m tall and is a deciduous species, though this is not pronounced in Singapore (Corner, 1997).

Form of the Giant Sterculia planted in Punggol.

Leaves are palmately compound.

Its primary branching radiates from points like a pagoda.

Cluster of ripe fruits.

The ripe fruits splitting open to reveal the seeds.

A look at how long the petioles are.


Corner EJH. (1997) Wayside Trees of Malaya. Volume 2. 4th edition. The Malaysian Nature Society, Kuala Lumpur. 297 pp.

Author: Jake
Posted: 2013-07-25 / Modified: 2017-12-25