Ceiba pentandra - Kapok Tree - 15 Seeds
Ceiba pentandra, commonly known as the Kapok Tree or Silk Cotton tree is a majestic tree of the tropical rainforests. Originally a native to South America, it now has spread to the primary rainforests of West Africa, and the Southeast Asian rainforests of the Malay Peninsula, and the Indonesian archipelago.It can grow to a height of 45m or more, towering over other trees in the rainforest.The straight trunks are cylindrical, smooth and grey in colour, and can reach a diameter of 3m, large spines protrude from the trunk to discourage damage to the trunk. Thin, plank type buttresses stabilise the giant and can extend to 10m. The wood is a pinkish white to ashy brown in colour, with a straight grain.The branches grow in horizontal tiers, and spread widely, the crown has an open umbrella shape.Kapoks are drought deciduous, shedding most or all of their leaves during the tropical dry season. The leaves are palmate and compound, the 5-9 leaflets are 7 - 8cm long and 1 - 3.5cm wide.
Flowers usually open before the leaves appear, and are clustered on small, new branches. The 5 petals of a flower are about 2.5cm long and are a creamy white or pale pink in colour - their odour is unpleasant, but is probably meant to attract the bats that pollinate them.
The brown seeds are round like peas and are found in pods which are woody, smooth and pendulous and a light green colour. They burst open while still on the tree after the leaves have fallen and inside a whitish cotton like fibre surrounds the brown seeds which are blown away in the wind.Traditionally the straight trunks of the kapok tree are used to make dugout canoes. The white, fluffy seed covering is used in pillows and mattresses. Since it is buoyant and water resistant it is often used in flotation devices and padding. The seeds, leaves, bark and resin have been used to treat dysentery, fever, asthma, and kidney disease. In Mayan tales the Kapok Tree was sacred - they believed that the souls of the dead would climb up into the branches which reached into heaven.Many plants and animals grow and live in the branches of the Kapok Tree - birds nest in it, mammals use the huge branches as highways and frogs breed in the pools of water that collect in the Bromeliads which grow in the branches.Fruit bearing plants close to the forest floor rely on animals to eat and disperse their seeds, which will fall to the ground when ripe, and which are normally covered with a thick, appetizing pulp.15 premium quality seeds shipped on receipt of cleared funds.
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