Cotton Trees

August 28, 2020

Menashe  cottontree
: Menashe Davidson 
Summary Author: Menashe Davidson 

A222fixtree222s shown above, it’s easy to understand why this tree is called the cotton tree. Its scientific name is Bombax malabaricum, though it’s also referred to as the red silk cotton tree or Kapok tree. Its fruits (pods) are brown oval capsules that when ripe contain seeds and white cotton-like fibers, a mix of lignin and cellulose. Cotton trees produce several hundred of these 6 inch (15 cm) pods.

These photos were taken in a park in Rishon LeZion, Israel, where the cotton tree is grown as an ornamental. When leafless, in February, its scented flowers are particularly fragrant. In India, villagers gather the fruit and extract the cotton-like substance for filling pillows, sofas, etc. Photos taken May 29, 2020.