Thursday, January 7, 2016

Wonderful tree #3: Silk Floss Tree

Silk Floss Tree, AKA Floss Silk Tree, AKA Ceiba speciosa, AKA Chorisia speciosa.

This is such a great tree, with so many outstanding features, it's hard to know where to start.  First of all, it's hard to mistake this tree for anything else.  Once you see it, you'll recognize more of them easily.

The trunk is hugely swollen as it gets older, which I always love.  Apparently it stores water like a Baobab or a camel or a waterbed.  Then, it has these Hershey's Kisses or nipple-shaped spikes, which are interesting if not attractive to everyone.  These are so prominent that I call this a Titty Tree.  This does, however, make the tree unhuggable unless you like pain.  At least you could scratch your back on the trunk.  Or your front.  But that might look funny.  Then, the trunk is largely green, which isn't common in mature trees.  Looks fresh.  And if that's not enough, the flowers are outstanding.  Add on the silk floss fibers that are useful, and the fruit, which isn't.  Looks like a cucumber, I've heard.

I've seen quite a few of these at arboretums, usually in mild climates.  Southern California and Florida are perfect.  There are a few in Oakland.  I know the Oakland Zoo has a few.  I'm told the biggest one in these United States is in Bel Air at the Bel Air Hotel.  Ooh, fancy.  I'm also told it may be recognized as the most beeeeautiful tree in the country.

So they used to make pillows and life preservers and stuff from the silk floss, which apparently is pretty darn good stuff.  Maybe they use it around the world still. I don't suppose you could use it for dental floss, but maybe.

 I have one of these that's about 4' tall and has a 3" trunk diameter, which is quite thick for such a young tree of any specie.  Having anything that's 3" thick when you're young is impressive.

To be continued..................

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