Chorisia, silk Floss Tree

Ceiba speciosa

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The genus is dedicated to J.L. Choris, an artist and travel companion of the naturalist Kotzebue. Speciosa, alludes to the beauty of its flowers.

It originates from the northeast of Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil.

Deciduous tree that reaches 5-10 m in height, with a smooth, straight trunk and greenish in colour and covered in thick and conical spines. It contains chlorophyll and is able to perform the chlorophyll function when leaves are missing in the dry season. The trunk is in the shape of a bottle with a swollen base up to two metres in diameter which serves to store water and withstand several months of drought, being able to store the dew that falls through its branches.

The branches are horizontal and thorny and have palmate leaves, composed of 5-7 elongated and lanceolate leaflets, from a long petiole, which fall during the dry period.

Flowers 12-15 cm in diameter, terminals, solitary or grouped. A bell-shaped Calyx, with 5 petals in a purpley-pink colour on the outside and white on the inside, ending in yellow, reminiscent of hibiscus. It blooms from Spring to Autumn. The nectar of its flowers serves as food for hummingbirds. The fruit grows in large, thick capsules, with black seeds coated with a cotton-like fluff that germinate easily. They are not edible but the parrots eat them.

Fast growing, resistant to drought and undemanding in soils.

The species is well adapted to the climate of Cadiz, where excellent specimens grow in the gardens of Genovés Park, Plaza de España, Parque de Varela, Plaza de Asdrúbal, gardens of Ramón de Carranza Avenue.

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