Ceiba speciosa (A.St.-Hil.) Ravenna
Silk Floss Tree, Floss Silk Tree
Bombax aculeatum, Chorisa speciosa, Chorisia speciosa, Spirotheca rimbachii
Ceiba speciosa, formerly known as Chorisia speciosa, is a large semi-deciduous tree with several unique and attractive characteristics. It can grow up to 60 feet (18 m) tall and up to 30 feet (10 m) wide, but the large studded conical prickles on the greenish trunk and branches are most noticeable. The branches hold a palmately compound leaf with 6 to 8 leaflets that are up to 5 inches (12.5 cm) long. Flowers are large, showy, pale pink to rose-colored, with five frilly petals and cream to yellow center. They appear in summer into fall.
USDA hardiness zones 9a to 11b: from 20 °F (−6.7 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
How to Grow and Care
When planting a Silk Floss Tree, care should be taken to situate at least 15 feet (4.5 m) away from the eaves to account for growth and well away from foot traffic and play areas due to the thorny trunk.
Silk Floss Tree care is possible in USDA plant hardiness zone 9 to 11, as saplings are frost sensitive, but mature trees can withstand temperatures to 20 °F (-7 °C) for limited periods. Planting a Silk Floss Tree should occur in full sun with consistent moisture in humus-rich, well-drained soils. It tolerates some light shade, but flowers best is in full sun. Trees with established root systems have some drought tolerance. The leaves drop when temperatures sink below 27 °F (-3 °C).
Care of Silk Floss Tree should include moderate irrigation with a reduction in the winter. Transplants are readily available in suitable climate areas, or seeds can be sown from spring to early summer.
This species is native to the tropical and subtropical forests of South America.
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