Robert Siegel


This page is motivated by a single tree in the Stanford Inner Quad.

Silk floss tree



I have long been struck by the unusual nature of the tree: In fall, it exploded with beautiful pink flowers - largely in the absence of leaves. It is a magnet for hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees. Thanks to Herb Fong for helping me to identify it.

The naming/classification of the tree is surprising and confusing.

OK. OK. The tree is:

Ceiba speciosa

(formerly classified as Chorisia speciosa).
Ceiba is pronounced "SAY-ba".
Common names include:
Silk floss tree
Floss silk tree
Floss silktree.
There are also some references called it a kapok tree. However, kapok most typically refers to the related. Ceiba pentandra. There are some references called it a bombax tree. However, there is a separate, but related Bombax genus (including confusingly Bombax ceiba.)

Another closely related genus is Adansonia which is comprised of the eight species of Baobab tree.

These three genera were formerly part of the Bombax family Bombacaceae.
Bombacaceae was shown to be a heterogeneous group (polyphyletic) and these three genera were reassigned to the much larger Malvaceae (mallow or hibiscus) family. This family is apparently also under scrutiny.
The three genera are part of the subfamily Bombacoideae.

Ceiba in bloom



Ceiba flower close-up



One flower


+ Flowers

+ Orchids

+ Lobelia

+ Buddhas hand

+ Tulips

+ Protea

+ Nepenthe

+ Rafflesia

+ Flowers of Borneo


| Robert's home page | Birdz | The Stanford Dish | Hiking | My yard | Flowers | Orchids | Protea | Lobelia | Top of page |


Modified: October 11, 2008
Created: October 11, 2008