Kapok Tree Facts?

The 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, towering over other trees in the rainforest.
I believe it is a South America tree and you can also find it in the primary rainforests of West Africa, and the Southeast Asian rainforests of the Malay Peninsula, and the Indonesian archipelago.
What are some facts of the Kapok Tree?

asked by Brody in Science | 13093 views | 11-21-2009 at 05:44 PM

Facts:

The kapok tree, Ceiba pentandra, is a large, deciduous, tropical tree that is native to tropical America, Africa, and the East Indies. The flowers are pollinated and the seeds are spread by fruit bats.

Anatomy: This fast-growing tree is generally from 45 to over 100 feet (14-30 m) tall; the kapok is the tallest tree in Africa. It has pink, white, or yellow night-blooming flowers borne in clusters. The green leaves are lanceolate (lance shaped) and palmately compound (with 5 to 9 leaflets).

Uses: The light-weight silky down from the seed pods (sometimes called Java cotton) is used as pillow stuffing, sleeping bag stuffing, life jacket stuffing, furniture upholstery, insulation, and for other uses. The yellow-green oil from the seeds is used in foods and to manufacture soap. Young leaves are also cooked and eaten; the wood from this tree is also used.

answered by Trap | 11-21-2009 at 05:44 PM

A giant in the rainforests, the kapok tree can reach up to 200 feet in height, sometimes growing as much as 13 feet per year. Due to its extreme height, the kapok, or ceiba tree, towers over the other rainforest vegetation. The trunk can expand to nine or 10 feet in diameter. In the nooks and grooves of this huge plant live a diverse number of species including frogs, birds and bromeliads. The kapok tree is deciduous, shedding all of its leaves during the dry season. As its seeds are easily blown into open areas, kapok trees are some of the first to colonize open areas in the forest. The white and pink flowers of the kapok tree emit a foul odor that attracts bats. As the flying mammals move from flower to flower feasting on the nectar, they transfer pollen on their fur, thus facilitating pollination. The kapok tree does a great job at spreading its seeds, producing anywhere between 500 and 4,000 fruits at one time, with each fruit containing 200 seeds. When these fruit burst open, silky fibers spread the many seeds all over the forest.

answered by Melissa | 11-21-2009 at 05:45 PM

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