Botanical Description

Bitter kola is a member of the genus Garcinia and belongs to the botanical family Guttiferae, a polygamous tree distributed throughout tropical Africa and Asia, with more than 180 species. Some other important members in the family are G. afzelli, G. handburii, G. indica, G. mangostana, G. mannii, and G. Morella (Sakariah et al., 2002). Among the family Guttiferae, Garcinia is the genus most localized to West Africa. In West Africa, the tree can be found growing domestically as well as naturally in the forest, especially in western Nigeria. It grows to a height of about 12—14 m, and its fruits mature during the rainy season, between June and August. Selected physical characteristics of bitter kola fruits and seeds are presented in Table 25.1 and Figure 25.1.

TABLE 25.1 Selected Characteristics of Fruit and Seed of Bitter Kola (Garcinia kola)

Physical Characteristics

Fruit

Seed

TABLE 25.1 Selected Characteristics of Fruit and Seed of Bitter Kola (Garcinia kola)

Physical Characteristics

Fruit

Seed

Shape

Spherical

Ovoid

Color

Reddish-brown

Brown

Average weight

200.53 g

7.06 g

Number

One

2—4

Skin appearance

Smooth

Rough

Width

80—85 mm

20—21 mm

Length

80—85 mm

35—40 mm

Source: Adapted from Daramola (2005).

Source: Adapted from Daramola (2005).

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