The Kapok tree (Ceiba pentandra) is an historically important crop that in some regions is still used medicinally*, as a reliable food source* (see notes on toxicity), and a source of fiber known as kapok. Also known as Cotton Tree, ceiba, Java cotton, Java kapok, samauma, and silk-cotton. Deciduios Tree USDA zones 10-12.
|Habit/Size||160 feet tall, 100 ft wide|
|Requirements||Can tolerate a variety of soil types and pH. Full sun. Flowers are pollinated by bats, bees, and moths. Plants are not self fertile.|
|Zones||USDA zones 9-12|
|Life Cycle||deciduous tree|
|Harvest||Young buds, fruit, and leaves are eaten like okra and have a mucilaginous texture. Flowers can be blanched and served with hot chilis or chili sauce. Sap is mixed with water and other herbs to make a drink. Wood ashes can be used as a salt alternative/substitute. Some reports say that seeds are roasted then ground and used as a spice, or a mild cooking oil similar to cottonseed oil can be extracted from the seeds* (caution is advised, see notes on toxicity). The water resistant fiber from the inner wall of the fruit has many uses including insulation, floatation, stuffing, textiles, and more. A red dye can be made from the bark.|
|Uses||edible (flowers, fruit, leaves, oil*, seed*),*, herb/spice, medicinal*, utility (biofuel, dye, oil, fiber)|
|Notes||Seeds and oil contain cyclopropenoid acids which can be toxic. However, seeds and oil that have been properly processed have been used in traditional cooking for centuries. Processed fibers have several uses, but can cause eye and lung irritation.|
|Breed Status||Open Pollinated|
|Seed Storage||Store seeds cold and dry (34-41 degrees F).|
|Synonyms||Bombax guineensis, Bombax inerme, Bombax orientale, Bombax pentandrum, Ceiba caribaea, Ceiba guineensis, Eriodendron anfractuosum, Eriodendron caribaeum, Gossampinus alba|
**Purchasers are responsible for understanding and complying with all local laws, restrictions, and regulations. For more information and a list of restricted plants and seeds, please visit the USDA's composite list of Federal and State noxious weeds. The extent Amkha Seed LLC can be held liable for damages is limited to replacement of the item, or a refund of the purchase price (within 30 days of purchase). Click here for more information.
Original Image by Ruddy Benezet, Some rights reserved. Seed Image by Amkha Seed.