This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
(aboriginal name). Bombacacese. Silk-Cotton. Kapok. Ceiba. Trees, one of which is widely known in the tropics for its great size as a shade tree, and for the "cotton" of its seed-pods. Eriodendron is a more recent name.
Leaves digitate, with 5-7 entire leaflets: flowers medium to large, rose or white, on 1-flowered peduncles, solitary or fascicled; calyx cup-shaped, truncate or irregularly 3-5-lobed; petals oblong, pubescent or woolly; staminal tube divided at the apex into 5 or 10 parts, each part bearing a stamen; ovary 5-celled: fruit a coriaceous caps., pubescent within and bearing obovoid seeds embedded in a wool-like or cotton-like fiber. - Allied to Bombax and Adansonia, from which it differs in having 5 parts in the staminal body or column, rather than a much more divided column bearing many stamens on each division. Ten or more species, mostly in tropical Amer., extending to Asia and Africa
(C. pentandra, Gaertn. Bombax pentandrum, Linn. B. guineense, Schum. & Thoun. Eriodendron anfractuosum, DC. E. occidentals, Don. E. orientate, Kostel. Xylon pentandrum, O. Kunze.). Silk-Cotton Tree. Ceiba. Pochote. Figs. 852, 853. Great tree, reaching 100 ft. and more, and having immense horizontal far-spreading branches and wide-flung thin buttresses or flanges: trunk spiny when young; branches verticillate: leaflets 7, arising from a nearly circular plate or disk at the top of the petiole, lanceolate-acuminate, undulate, smooth, each 4-6 in. long: flowers white or rose, the corolla 2-3 in. long; petals oblong-obtuse, hairy outside: caps. 4-8 in. long, 5-valved, bearing many woolly seeds. Tropics of Asia, Africa, and Amer. B.M. 3360. - One of the characteristic and well-known trees of tropical countries. The wings of some of the old trees run far in all directions, sometimes being prominent 30 ft. or more; note the picture (Fig. 852) of the well-known tree at Nassau on the island of New Providence. The wood is used to some extent in interior construction, but is soft, white and brittle. The cotton-like material in the pods is used in beds and pillows and for stuffinglife-buoys, butitcan-not be spun into threads; it is the "kapok," of commerce.
Offered in S. Calif, and Fla., as a tree of rapid growth.
Fig. 852. Ceiba Casearia, the great silk-cotton tree at Nassau.
Fig. 853. Leaves and fruits of Ceiba Casearia, the silk-cotton tree. ( X 1/4)
Rose. Tree, 15-20 ft., 8-12 in. diam., the branches with short prickles: petioles 2-4 in. long; leaflets 3-5, glabrous, oblong, cuneate at base, entire or slightly serrulate, 2-3 1/2 in. long: petals white, silky, 4-5 in. long, strap-shaped; stamens 5, the filaments 3 1/2 in. long and each with 2 anthers: caps, oblong, 4 1/2 in. long. tropical W. Mex. - The flowers are fleshy; they change to brown. Listed in S. Calif. L. H. B.