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 Bombax subsp. var.  Bombax, Silk Cotton Tree, Simal, Red Cotton Tree, Kapok
Bombax flower
Habit: tree
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Malvaceae > Bombax var. , L.

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Bombax is a genus of mainly tropical trees in the mallow family. They are native to western Africa, the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, as well as sub-tropical regions of East Asia and northern Australia. Common names for the genus include Silk Cotton Tree, Simal, Red Cotton Tree, Kapok and simply Bombax. Currently three species are recognised, though many plants have been placed in the genus that were later moved.[1]

The genus is best known for the species B. ceiba, which is widely cultivated throughout tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world. It is native to southern and eastern Asia and northern Australia.

Bombax species are among the largest trees in their regions, reaching 30 to 40 metres in height and up to 3 metres trunk diameter. The leaves are compound with entire margins and deciduous, being shed in the dry-season. They measure 30 to 50 cm across and are palmate in shape with 5 to 9 leaflets. The calyx is deciduous, meaning it does not persist on the fruits.

They bear 5 to 10 cm long red flowers between January and March while the tree is still leafless. The stamens are present in bundles in two whorls, while the staminal column lacks lobes. The ovary matures into a husk containing seeds covered by a fibre similar to that of the kapok (Ceiba pentandra) and to cotton, though with shorter fibres than cotton, that does not lend itself to spinning, making it unusable as a textile product.[2]

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Bombax (a Greek name for raw silk, alluding to the cottony contents of the pods). Bombacaceae. Silk Cotton Tree. A genus of 50 species of tropical shrubs and trees, with digitate 5-9-foliolate lvs., 1-fld. axillary or clustered peduncles, and usually large white or scarlet fls. Specimens are rarely seen in cult, in fine glasshouses, and only 1 of the species appears to be in the American trade. The bark of some species produces commercial fiber such as the Kapok fiber.

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.



Pests and diseases


Bombax buonopozense
Bombax ceiba
Bombax insigne



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