Silk Floss Tree

Ceiba speciosa

  • ​Common Name: Silk Floss Tree (other common names: Silk Floss Tree, White Floss Silk Tree).
  • Scientific Name: Ceiba speciosa (koe-RIZZ-ee-uh spee-see-OH-suh).
  • Family Name: Malvaceae
  • Origin: South America - native to Brazil and Argentina.
  • Height: 35’-50’
  • Width: Canopy span can get to 40’-55’.
  • Growth: Fast
  • Zone: 9B - 11
  • Light Needs: Full sun.
  • Salt Tolerance: Low- not salt tolerant.
  • Soil/PH/Texture: Clay, sand, loam, and will thrive on any reasonably fertile soil that has good drainage. Alkaline – acidic and tolerates high pH.
  • Soil Moisture: Likes well-drained soil to occasionally wet.
  • Drought Tolerance: High
  • Pests/Diseases: Free of serious pests and diseases.
  • Growing Conditions: Can grow rapidly the first few years, then more slowly. Young trees can have a columnar form with wide-spreading branches, which are green when young and covered with spines,  but as it ages the trunk usually thickens and though some stay green they can often become grey and sometimes lose their sharp spines.
  • Characteristics: This deciduous tree has a crown that is moderate, upright/erect, round, and pyramidal. The leaves are made up of 5 to 7 leaflets that are 3”-5”, green on top, paler green underneath, grow alternately, palmately compound, serrate margins, elliptic to lanceolate shape, and with pinnate venation. The flowers bloom late fall to early winter, are pink and white, very showy, and emerge in clusters. The fruits are about 8”, showy, oval - round, green to brown when ripe, and do not attract wildlife. The branches don't droop, are very showy with typically one trunk that has thorns.
  • Propagation: Can be done by seed or grafting. Two grafted selections are available: the 'Los Angeles Beautiful' has beautiful wine-red flowers, or the 'Majestic Beauty' which has rich pink flowers. The cultivar 'Monsa' has a thorn less trunk and in the fall produces pink flowers.
  • Wildlife: Does not attract wildlife.
  • Facts: The fruits are filled with white, silky, kapok-like floss that have been often used for stuffing pillows, and the thin strips of the bark have been used to make rope.
  • Designer Considerations: An excellent specimen tree for parks, parking lots, and other large landscapes and spectacular when in bloom with a beautiful show of color in the fall. Large roots can form at the base of the trunk, so be careful not to plant this tree too close to sidewalks or pavement for safety issues. It can also be used as a shade tree, a specimen, street tree without sidewalks or on a highway median.

Silk Floss Tree


Native Trees in The Gardens

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