SelecTree: Tree Detail

RED SILK COTTON TREE
Bombax ceiba

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Photo Locations: Foster Botanical Garden - Honolulu, HI

General Notes

This large, deciduous tree often has prickles on the trunk and main branches when young that become less prominent as the tree matures. The leaves can be harvested as a curry vegetable, the trunks were hollowed out to make canoes, and gum from the inner bark was used in traditional medicine. The soft wood is used for matches and tea boxes, the inner bark provides fiber for cordage, and the silky fruit hair stuffing for mattresses and pillows. Bombax ceiba has a HPWRA (Hawai'i Pacific Weed Risk Assessment) score of 2 (Evaluate) and the Plant Pono link is: https://plantpono.org/pono-plants/bombax-ceiba/

Native to Tropical Asia to Australia.

Family: Malvaceae
Previously listed in the Bombaceae family.

Additional Common Names

RED SILK COTTON TREE, KAPOK, COTTON TREE, RED COTTON TREE, SILK-COTTON

Tree Characteristics

Erect with a High Canopy.

Rounded Shape.

Has Partly Deciduous foliage.

Height: 70 - 80 feet.

Width: 60 feet.

Growth Rate: 24 Inches per Year.

Leaves Palmately Compound, Green, Golden or Yellow or Orange, Partly Deciduous.

Flowers Showy. Red. Flowers in Spring or Winter. Has perfect flowers (male and female parts in each flower).

Prolific, Dark Brown Capsule, Very Large (Over 3.00 inches), fruiting in Winter or Spring.

Bark Gray, Rough or Smooth.

Shading Capacity Rated as Moderate in Leaf.

Shading Capacity Rated as Moderately Low out of Leaf.

Litter Issue is Flowers, Dry Fruit and Leaves.

Tree Site Conditions & Constraints

Sunset Zones H1, H2.

USDA Hardiness Zones 10 - 12.

Exposure Full Sun.

Wet but Well Drained Soil.

Drought tolerant.

Loam Texture.

Salinity Tolerance is Low.

Seaside Tolerance is Good in South Coast.

Health, Safety & Environmental Concerns

Attracts Bees, Squirrels, and Birds.

Special Uses & Values

Flowering Tree, Specimen Tree, Xerophytic.

Cite this tree:
SelecTree. "Bombax ceiba Tree Record." 1995-2020. Sep 29, 2020.
< https://selectree.calpoly.edu/tree-detail/bombax-ceiba >

This tree is not part of the SelecTree Nursery Connection. If you would like to see this tree listed, or know of a nursery that sells it, please contact us at ufei@calpoly.edu.