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Kapok Tree
Kapok Tree
The kapok tree, Ceiba pentandra, is a large, deciduous, tropical tree that is native to tropical America, Africa, and the East Indies. The flowers are pollinated and the seeds are spread by fruit bats.

Anatomy: This fast-growing tree is generally from 45 to over 100 feet (14-30 m) tall; the kapok is the tallest tree in Africa. It has pink, white, or yellow night-blooming flowers borne in clusters. The green leaves are lanceolate (lance shaped) and palmately compound (with 5 to 9 leaflets).

Uses: The light-weight silky down from the seed pods (sometimes called Java cotton) is used as pillow stuffing, sleeping bag stuffing, life jacket stuffing, furniture upholstery, insulation, and for other uses. The yellow-green oil from the seeds is used in foods and to manufacture soap. Young leaves are also cooked and eaten; the wood from this tree is also used.

Classification: Division Magnoliophyta, Class Magnoliopsida, Subclass Dilleniidae, Order Malvales, Family Bombacaceae.

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