cola or kola, tropical tree (genus Cola ) of the family Sterculiaceae (sterculia family), native to Africa but now grown in other tropical regions. The fruit is a pod containing seeds from which is obtained caffeine, an alkaloid that functions as a stimulant. Cola nuts are chewed by the local populations and are exported for commercial use in soft drinks and medicines. Colas are classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Malvales, family Sterculiaceae.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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