The kola nut is a caffeine-containing nut of evergreen trees of the genus Cola, primarily of the species Cola acuminata and Cola nitida. Cola acuminata, an evergreen tree about 20 meters in height, has long, ovoid leaves pointed at both ends with a leathery texture. The trees have cream flowers with purplish-brown striations, and star-shaped fruit consisting of usually 5 follicles. Inside each follicle, about a dozen prismatic seeds develop in a white seed shell. The nut’s aroma is sweet and rose-like. The first taste is bitter, but it sweetens upon chewing. The nut can be boiled to extract the caffeine.

Kola nuts contain about 2–4% caffeine and theobromine, as well as tannins, alkaloids, saponins, and flavonoids.