Research on this family has been conducted by Peter Wilkie. He has concentrated on the subfamily Sterculioideae which is composed of 13 genera and is both ecologically and economically important. Several genera, such as Sterculia and Hildegardia, are pan-tropical while others have a more or less restricted distribution. The predominantly South East Asian genera Scaphium, Heritiera, Firmiana, Pterocymbium and Pterygota are of particular interest.       

Research on the subfamily has involved phylogenetic, monographic and floristic study. Phylogenetic research has strongly supported the monophyly of the Sterculioideae (Wilkie et al, 2006) but has also highlighted problems with the current circumscriptions of Hildegardia and Firmiana and the relationship between Scaphium and Pterocymbium. Both of these issues are being addressed as new material becomes available.

 Scaphium fruit 

Monographic work on the genus Scaphium has recently been published (Wilkie, 2009) while monographic research on the genus Firmiana is ongoing with S.K. Ganesan from the National Parks Board Singapore.

Floristic work has focused on the production of an account of the traditional Sterculiaceae for the Tree Flora of Sabah and Sarawak (Wilkie & Berhaman, in press), an initiative established by the Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM).

For further information contact: Peter Wilkie


Selected publications

Wilkie, P. & Berhaman, A. (in Press) Sterculiaceae. In: E. Soepadmo, L.G. Saw, Chung R.C.K. and Kiew, R. (eds.) Tree Flora of Sabah and Sarawak Vol 7. 108 pages.  Ampang Press Sdn. Bhd., Kuala Lumpur.

Wilkie, P. A Revision of Scaphium (Sterculioideae, Malvaceae/Sterculiaceae) (2009). Edinburgh Journal of Botany 66, 2 283-328.

Phongsak, P. & Wilkie, P. (2008) Scaphium affine (Mast.) Pierre (Sterculiaceae) new for Thailand. Thai Forest Bulletin (Bot.) 36 61-69.

Wilkie, P. (2008) A new species of Scaphium (Sterculioideae, Malvaceae/Sterculiaceae) from Borneo. Edinburgh Journal of Botany 65(3) 1-7.

Wilkie, P. (2007) A new species of Pterospermum schreb. (Dombeyoideae, Malvaceae/Sterculiaceae) from Cambodia and Vietnam. Edinburgh Journal of Botany 64(2)179-183.

Wilkie, P., Clark, A., Pennington, R.T., Cheek, P., Bayer, C., & Wilcock, C.C. (2006) Phylogenetic Relationships within the Subfamily Sterculioideae (Malvaceae/Sterculiaceae-Sterculieae). Using the Chloroplast Gene ndhF. Systematic Botany 31:160-170.


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