Common name: Pancumaram, Ceiba, White Silk-Cotton Tree
Flowering period: February to early March
Kapok tree is an emergent tree of the tropical rainforests, and is often described as majestic. It can grow to a height of 150 feet or more.
The straight trunks are cylindrical, smooth and Gray in colour, and can reach a diameter of 9 feet.
The wood is a pinkish white to ashy brown in colour, with a straight grain.
The leaves are palmate and compound. The 5-9 leaflets are 7-8 cm long and 1-3.5 cm wide. Flowers usually open before the leaves appear, and are clustered on small, new branches.
The fiber is light, very buoyant, resilient, resistant to water, but very flammable. The fiber is difficult to spin, alternatively used in filling in mattresses, pillows, and stuffed toys such as teddy bears, and for insulation.
The seeds produce an oil that is used locally in soap and can be used as fertilizer.