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 most noticeable are the studded, large, conical prickles on the greenish trunk and branches. The branches hold a palmately compound leaf with 6 to 8 leaflets up to 5 inches (12.5 cm) long. The flowers are large, showy, pale pink to rose in color, with 5 frilly petals and a 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 time periods. Planting a Silk Floss Tree should occur in full to part sun in well drained, moist, fertile soil.
Care of Silk Floss Tree should include moderate irrigation with a reduction in the winter. Transplants are readily available in climate suitable areas or seeds can be sown from spring to early summer.
When planting a Silk Floss Tree, the eventual size should be kept in mind, as leaf drop and fruit pod detritus can be hard on lawn mowers. These trees are also often affected by scale insects.
Ceiba speciosa is native to the tropical and subtropical forests of South America.
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