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Plantidote of the Day 2011-12-27

twig's picture


Mystery tree

This is a big (20' high), beautiful tree that is situated right next to one that was in bloom through much of November and December (see image below). So actually, we're talking about two trees. The flowering one has none of the wicked looking thorn things, so I'm guessing this is a boy/girl type of deal -- maybe??


The flowers look a bit like orchids (click on the image to enlarge it for a better view). I forgot to check for fragrance and the flowers are gone now. If they were fragrant, it wasn't a very noticeable scent. At some point, the trees produce pods filled with what looks like white cotton. These trees are all over here in Zone 10, but what are they??

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Submitted by Alcuin on

Yes. The common name is Silk Floss tree or Kapok tree. It was formerly known as chorisa speciosa. You'll find it under both names if you do a web search. It is a tropical tree that is native to South America but it has been brought into South Florida and perhaps other warm areas of the United States. There are a number of the trees in Dade County, FL. When it blooms, it is stunning, like so many other flowering tropical trees. The royal poinciana and yellow tabebuia (tabebuia aurea) come to mind as examples.

twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

Yes, floss silk tree is the winning answer. Thank you both, and hat tips all around!!

Kathryn's picture
Submitted by Kathryn on

I remember, when I was in Florida, looking up at that tree and the size of the spikes on it, thinking -- evolution is awesome, and I wonder what that looked like in the Jurassic. Of course, being it was Florida, that was my inside voice.

Submitted by Alcuin on

"Of course, being it was Florida, that was my inside voice."