These trees go from leaves and stunningly exotic flowers to big seed pods that burst open and fall to the ground to reveal these large puffs of silk floss. The seeds can be used to produce cooking oil and the floss used like kapok.
I am so fascinated by this tree that I pulled over to the side of the road to photograph this one. This is its final stage, when the flowers have formed into pods that have broken open to spill out their floss. In some of the photos, you can see pods that haven’t burst open. These bundles are large–some eight inches to a foot long. They were used in much the same ways as kapok—for mattress stuffing and protection of items for packing and shipping.
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You can see their luscious blooms HERE.
Here’s a closeup view of the wonderful flowers of the Silk Floss Tree. It is ceiba speciosa- such an interesting tree that I’m going to do another posting on it, showing its trunk and large seed pods as well.)
And, the tree itself.