Tall tree with straight trunk and ± horizontal main branches; bark smooth, usually with scattered conical spines to 1.5 cm long; young branches glabrous or pubescent. Leaves 5–9-foliolate; leaflets narrowly elliptic-obovate, entire, acuminate, 7–20 x 1.8–6.5 cm, glabrous; petiole 5.5–25 cm long, at the apex expanded into an almost circular disk. Flowers often on leafless branches or present when the whole tree is leafless, in 1–15-flowered axillary clusters. Calyx 9–15 mm long, lobed, glabrous outside, pubescent inside. Petals pink or white, oblong, 2–3.5 cm long. Filament-tube 5–9 mm long; anthers coiled or reniform. Ovary glabrous or nearly so; style 2.5–3.3 cm long. Capsule ± woody, smooth, brown, oblong-ellipsoid, up to c. 26 x 11 cm. Seeds subglobose, c. 6 mm across.
Throughout the tropics
State - Kerala, District/s: All Districts"
Widespread in Tropical Africa and America
In clusters at the ends of branchlets, white or whitish-yellow. Flowering January-April.
An ellipsoid to fusiform capsule, indehiscent, valves with silky fibres; seeds numerous, subglobose, enveloped in silky cotton.
Stem prickly when young, later smooth, green. Branchlets drooping. Tree leafless when flowering.
Oblanceolate, elliptic or oblong
Subacute or acuminate
Chocó-Darién Moist Forests Habitat
This taxon can be found in the Chocó-Darién moist forests ecoregion, one of the most species rich lowland areas on Earth, with exceptional abundance and endemism over a broad range of taxa including plants, birds, amphibians and arthropods. The biological distinctiveness is exceptional, with considerable biodiversity.
There are three principal geomorphologic types in the ecoregion: alluvial plains of recent origin, low mountains formed by the relatively recent dissection of sediments from the Tertiary and Pleistocene periods, and the complexes in mountain areas consisting of mesozoic rocks. The high precipitation and the topography mean that the ecoregion includes a complex of great hydrographic basins, the most important being those of the Atrato, Baudó, and San Juan Rivers and the Micay and Patía Rivers in the south. The force of the water in many of these rivers form deep gorges cutting through the mountains, creating spectacular rapids and waterfalls in the mountains. At lower elevations, large rivers become very wide and with many meanders. Given the high precipitation in the region, it is not surprising that the soils are severely leached and poor in nutrients. Most of the ecoregion has typical laterite soils with reddish clay, although the soils are younger and less leached in some areas, especially close to the base of the Andes and in the floodplains of the major rivers. Of particular botanical interest are the white clay soils in the region of Bajo Calima in Colombia, which are associated with the gigantic sclerophyllous leafed and unusually large fruited vegetation.
Depending on the altitudinal gradient, soil water content and the effect of the sea, there are various types of vegetation that make up the ecoregion. In broad terms, in the northern part of the ecoregion, the lowland rainforests correlate to the Brosimun utilis alliance, including communities dominated by the deciduous Cuipo tree (Cavanillesia platanifolia), the Espavé wild cashew (Anacardium excelsum), the Panamanian rubber tree (Castilla elastica), Brosimum guianense, Bombacopsis spp., Ceiba pentandra, Dipteryx panamensis, and others. In the undergrowth Mabea occidentalis, Clidemia spp., Conostegia spp. and Miconia spp. are abundant. In zones that are occasionally flooded, the Cativo (Prioria copaifera) flourishes as well. In the southern part of the ecoregion, these rainforests have multiple strata, with two layers of trees, lianas, and epiphytes with vigorous growth rates. The number of deciduous plants increases in the north and south, where there is a dry season, particularly near the coast. The forests at higher altitudes, starting at 600 meters, have communities with the following species: Guamos (Inga spp.), Billia columbiana, Brosimum sp., Sorocea spp., Jacaranda hesperia, Pourouma chocoana, Guatteria ferruginea, Cecropia spp., Elaegia utilis, and Brunellia spp.
There are at least 127 species of amphibians in the Choco-Darien, including the following endemic anuran species: Isla Bonita robber frog (Craugastor crassidigitus); Kokoe poison frog (Phyllobates aurotaenia NT), found on western slopes of the Cordillera Occidental , along the Rao San Juan drainage south to the Rao Raposo; Golden poison frog (Phyllobates terribilis EN); La Brea poison frog (Oophaga occultator); Andagoya robber frog (Pristimantis roseus); Antioquia beaked toad (Rhinella tenrec); Atrato glass frog (Hyalinobatrachium aureoguttatum); Blue-bellied poison arrow frog (Ranitomeya minuta); Colombian egg frog (Ctenophryne minor), known only to the in the upper Rao Saija drainage; Condoto stubfoot toad (Atelopus spurrelli VU); Flecked leaf frog (Phyllomedusa psilopygion); LeDanubio robber frog (Strabomantis zygodactylus). An endemic salamander present in the Choco-Darien is the Finca Chibigui salamander (Bolitoglossa medemi VU).
Some other non-endemic anurans found here are: Anatipes robber frog (Strabomantis anatipes); Banded horned treefrog (Hemiphractus fasciatus); Black-legged poison frog (Phyllobates bicolor NT); Horned marsupial frog (Gastrotheca cornuta EN), known for having the largest amphibian eggs in the world; El Tambo stubfoot toad (Atelopus longibrachius EN); Elegant stubfoot toad (Atelopus elegans CR). Endemic caecilians in the ecoregion include the Andagoya caecilian (Caecilia perdita).
There are a number of reptilian taxa within the ecoregion, including: Adorned graceful brown snake (Rhadinaea decorata); the endemic Black centipede snake (Tantilla nigra); Boulenger's least gecko (Sphaerodactylus scapularis VU); the endemic Iridescent ground snake (Atractus iridescens); the endemic Cauca coral snake (Micrurus multiscutatus); the endemic Colombian coral snake (Micrurus spurelli); the endemic Dark ground snake (Atractus melas); the endemic Colombian mud turtle (Atractus melas VU); and the endemic Echternacht's ameiva (Ameiva anomala).
There are 577 species of birds recorded; Tyrannidae is listed as the most diverse avian family, presenting 28 genera and 60 species within the ecoregion. The Choco-Daroemis is a center of avian endemism of the Neotropics; moreover, according to Stattersfield, this ecoregion spans two Endemic Bird Areas, one in Central America and one in South America.
Between these two Endemic Bird Areas there are over sixty restricted range species, including the Chocó tinamou (Crypturellus kerriae VU), Chestnut-mantled Oropendola (Psarocolius cassini EN), Viridian dacnis (Dacnis viguieri), Crested ant-tanager (Habia cristata), Lita woodpecker (Piculus litea), and Plumbeous forest-falcon (Micrastur plumbeus EN). Also to be noted is the presence of the Harpy eagle (Harpia harpyja), the Black and white crowned eagle (Spizastur melanoleucus), taxa increasingly rare in many areas of the Neotropics, and possibly the Speckled antshrike (Xenornis setifrons EN) although one has not been recorded in Colombia since the 1940s.
The region is rich in mammalian taxa, but the larger animals have received inadequate research. These include the Bush dog (Speothos venaticus NT); Chocó tamarin (Saguinus geoffroyi EN), the Baird's Tapir (Tapirus bairdii EN), the Giant anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla VU), the Brown-headed spider monkey (Ateles fuscipens CR), the Puma (Puma concolor VU), the Ocelot (Leopardus pardalis LC), and the jaguar (Panthera onca NT).
Habitat & Distribution
Life History and Behavior
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Leaf contains derivatives of quercetin and kaempferol, tannins and caffeic acid.
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Ceiba pentandra
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 21
Species With Barcodes: 1
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
Stem: The French Guiana Wayapi wash in a decoction of the bark for its febrifuge properties. Leaf: Surinam Indonesians use juice from bruised young branches in a preparation to treat asthma. Infusion for dissolving phlegm and to soothe rectal inflammation. Leaves stewed for a gonorrhoea remedy.
The cotton is used for making pillows and cushions. The roots are stimulant tonic, diuretic, emetic and antispasmodic, they have hypoglycaemic effect and are useful in diabetes, dysentery and gonorrhoea."
Apis dorsata forage on the flower during night time.
Ceiba pentandra is a tropical tree of the order Malvales and the family Malvaceae (previously separated in the family Bombacaceae), native to Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, northern South America, and (as the variety C. pentandra var. guineensis) to tropical west Africa. Kapok is the most used common name for the tree and may also refer to the cotton-like fluff obtained from its seed pods. The tree is cultivated for the seed fibre, particularly in south-east Asia, and is also known as the Java cotton, Java kapok, silk-cotton, Samauma, or ceiba.
The tree grows to 70 m (230 ft.) with a trunk up to 3 m (10 ft.) in diameter with buttresses. The trunk and many of the larger branches are often crowded with large simple thorns. The palmate leaves are composed of 5 to 9 leaflets, each up to 20 cm (8 in) long. The trees produce several hundred 15 cm (6 in) pods containing seeds surrounded by a fluffy, yellowish fibre that is a mix of lignin and cellulose. One of the oldest known trees, at 200 years, lives in Miami, Florida.[dubious ]
Kapok fibre is light, very buoyant, resilient, resistant to water, but it is very flammable. The process of harvesting and separating the fibre is labour-intensive and manual. It is difficult to spin, but is used as an alternative to down as filling in mattresses, pillows, upholstery, zafus, and stuffed toys such as teddy bears, and for insulation. It was previously much used in life jackets and similar devices until synthetic materials largely replaced the fibre. The seeds produce an oil, used locally in soap and that can be used as fertilizer.
The commercial tree is most heavily cultivated in the rainforests of Asia, notably in Java (hence its nicknames), Philippines, Malaysia, Hainan Island in China as well as in South America. The flowers are an important source of nectar and pollen for honey bees.
Ceiba pentandra bark decoction has been used as a diuretic, aphrodisiac, and to treat headache, as well as type II diabetes. It is used as an additive in some versions of the hallucinogenic drink Ayahuasca.
Kapok seed oil
A vegetable oil can be pressed from kapok seeds. The oil has a yellow colour and a pleasant, mild odour and taste, resembling cottonseed oil. It becomes rancid quickly when exposed to air. Kapok oil is produced in India, Indonesia and Malaysia. It has an iodine value of 85-100; this makes it a nondrying oil, which means that it does not dry out significantly when exposed to air. Kapok oil has some potential as a biofuel and in paint preparation.
Religion and folklore
According to the folklore of Trinidad and Tobago, the Castle of the Devil is a huge kapok growing deep in the forest in which Bazil the demon of death was imprisoned by a carpenter. The carpenter tricked the devil into entering the tree in which he carved seven rooms, one above the other, into the trunk. Folklore claims that Bazil still resides in that tree.
Kapok bark (with a black-hooded oriole)
- "Terrazas Miami in Miami River". Paz Realtors. Retrieved 15 April 2014.
- Kapok seed oil From the German Transport Information Service
- Hellmuth, Nicholas (March 2011). "Ceiba pentandra". Revue Magazine.
- "Tobago’s Avatar – ‘The tree of life’". Tobago News. 2012-03-01.
- Philpott, Don (2003). Landmark Puerto Rico. Hunter Publishing, Inc. p. 14. ISBN 9781901522341.
- Berry, Bruce. "Equatorial Guinea". CRW Flags. Retrieved 2013-04-27.
FG Creole: fromager. FG Boni: kakatri. FG Palikur: kumak. FG Wayapi: kumaka. Guyana Akawaio: kumak. Guyana Arawak: kumaka. Guyana Carib: makau. Guyana Creole: cotton, jumbie tree, silk. Guyana Macushi: kumae. Guyana Wapishana: wirin. Surinam: wilde kapokboom. Surinam Sranan: kankantri.
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