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.
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