Chinese Peanut Tree

Chinese Fruits

This Chinese tree originated from Southern China. It is a collector's item there and in Hong Kong. Occasionally, the nuts are sold in markets and roadside stores. Being a Sterculia, it is closely related to our Australian peanut tree, the S. quadrifida, which has tiny pea size seeds. These are eaten by Aborigines, roasted or grounded into a paste.

However,  the Chinese nut is ten times the size of its Australian cousin. It can be eaten raw or cooked.  Its one distinct characteristic is that when cooked, it has the colour and taste of a egg yolk. Vegetarians lavish them in their cooking.  Chinese gourmets use them to enrich the taste and flavours of dumplings and in brewing pots of herbal chicken, duck or pork.

I had imported the first batch of over one hundred seeds some sixteen years ago and the second batch about eight years later. Out of the two batches, only three or four germinated from each consignment, and thank goodness the original trees of one from each batch still thrive in my garden. Because they are difficult to germinate, there are not too many in collectors' gardens outside China. Unfortunately, the first tree only bears about six pods each year. However, the second tree started to bear nuts in abundance two years back in its sixth year.

There are two distinct varieties, distinguished by the colours of the flowers. One has snowy yellowish flowers while the other has snowy pinkish flowers. I call one S. lanceolata and the other S. monosperma.

Other Chinese colloquial names:
  • Phang Kor
  • Foong Kor
  • Fu Kwai Chee

Email me for more information or purchase this plant.