Stephen H. Brown, Horticulture Agent Lee County Extension, Fort Myers, Florida (239) 533-7513 [email protected] http://lee.ifas.ufl.edu/hort/GardenHome.shtml

Ceiba speciosa

Bombacaceae Flower Display: A+

Silk-floss Tree, Kapok, Floss-silk tree, Corisia, Paineira-rosa

Fort Myers, Florida. Form suggests a tree grown from a rooted-cutting

Fort Myers, Florida

Mid October

Early November

Imagine a rounded canopy adorned with thousands of large, starry, fleshy, pink flowers on leafless branches. This has to be one of the most spectacular flowering trees on the planet. Most trees begin to lose their leaves in September, in preparation for their stunning flower display. After flowering, the trees remain leafless until March, at which time they again suddenly explode, this time in green leaves. Between flowering and leafing out, some few trees are favored with a formidable display of pure white cottony balls, emanating from pear-shaped capsules. Perhaps the only dull moments in this tree’s life are the months when it is starkly naked, with neither green leaves, pink flowers nor white balls. Continue on next page

Cceiba speciosa Incorrect: Chorisia speciosa Origin: Brazil, Bolivia, Argentina Zone: 10a – 12b, 29°F minimum Growth Rate: Fast Flowering Month(s): September December Flowering Days: 30 Leaf Persistence: Deciduous from November - March Messiness: High in October and November Salt Tolerance: Medium Drought Tolerance: High Nutritional Requirements: Medium Typical Dimension: 45’ x 45’ Uses: Park, Shade, Specimen

Fort Myers, Florida

Mid November

Continued from previous page

This is a fast-growing tree and despite its large size it’s worth its residency in large gardens capable of holding it. The trunk and branches are covered with stout spines, but those on the trunk may disappear with age. The trunks of mature trees is often swollen and bottle-shaped. The seeds are imbedded in a white cottony fiber, which when broken apart, are dispersed by the wind. The fiber was once used to stuff pillow and mattresses. Seedlings will grow up to 3 feet in a year and flower in about 8 to 10 years. Trees from cuttings or grafted unions are better suited for most gardens, since they grow lower and flower sooner than their seedling counterparts. Chewing beetles can be a nuisance, but can be treated with a soil-applied, systemic insecticide. In California, the Santa Anna winds can completely defoliate trees but they should begin re-leafing in a couple of weeks after the passing of the winds. New and old flowers from four trees

Fort Myers, Florida

Two types of capsules and formation of the silk-floss

Early November

Flowers: Five streaked with mostly pink but also yellow or whitish petals with lighter colored throat. Stamens fused or free at ends

Fort Myers, Florida

Late March

Fruits: Capsules, woody, oblong, green, and dehiscent, to about 8 inches long. Seeds embedded in white fiber

Leaves: (Not shown). Palmate, alternate, to 5 inches long, on long petiole, with 5-7 narrowly finely serrated elliptic leaflets The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, martial status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A. & M.

Ceiba speciosa - Lee County Extension - University of Florida

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