Author: Jan Scholten
English: Kapok; Java cotton, Java kapok, Silk cotton, ceiba.
German: Kapock (Füllhorn mit Baumwollfüllung).
Botany: tropical: Africa, America; tree 60-70 meter tall; thick trunk with buttresses and large, robust simple thorns; leaves compound, palm like; fruit is hard, brownish, long, very light; inside is silky, cotton like material, very soft and smooth, like angel’s hair, with a sweet agreeable smell, oozing out, blown away by the wind; the fibre is light, very buoyant, resilient and resistant to water.
Use: fibre, difficult to spin; filling in mattresses, pillows, upholstery, stuffed toys, teddy bears, insulation; oil used locally in soap; fertiliser; nectar and pollen for honeybees; bio-fuel.
Culture: sacred symbol in Maya mythology; official national tree of Puerto Rico and Guatemala.
Source: Lamu provings.