During the 1940s the fluff, or kapok, that surrounds the seeds was harvested commercially for stuffing life preservers, seat cushions, mattresses and saddles.
Because of the fact that this material from the tree is lighter than cotton, more buoyant and much more resistant to saturation of water. This material was used until the 50's or so as filler for life preservers even as afiller seats in most all autos.
Here in Huntington beach they are every where, grown in mediums between traffic lanes and on sidewalks.
Above Are The Pictures Of the Ceiba Tree and Its Fruit That Produces The Fluff
The flowers open in the evening which is perfect for the bats that pollinate this tree when eating the nectar of these flowers.
(Ok, Speaking of Bats here is a short funny story) I am Petrified of bats because of an incident when I was about 7. My mother drove Me and my sister Viola to the Grand Canyon, she and I were at the edge of the canyon enjoying the view.....As the sun started to set about 50 bats (which at the time seemed like a thousands) came out of the canyon right for us. We ran screaming like little girls for our lives. She and I still laugh about it to this day !!!
They may flower as little as once every 5 years, especially in wetlands or rain forests.
Flowering will occur more often in drier areas with less water fall or near the edges of forest.
The leaves of this tree will fall usually during the summer time and hot times of the year. "drought-deciduousness" is what this process is called.
The flowering and fruiting of this tree happens when the tree leafs have all fallen and this is believed to be an adaptation that facilitates both mammal pollination and wind dispersal contributing factors to the necessary cycle to reproduce.
It is amazing how dispersal by water may also occur. The fruits of this tree can float indefinitely living up its water-repellant kapok fibers.
It is believed that this method is how the seeds of the cebia reached Africa from South America the origination point of this incredible tree.
The large spreading reaching branches in lowland rainforests can be seen with diverse epiphytes growing on them.
Many animals like frogs, insects and snakes line in these aerial plants, other more favored omnivorous animals make this their homes as such you will see the white faced Capuchin monkeys feed off the insects and such. It’s a cycle that is necessary. The birds that love this tree are one of my favorites the Toucans, trogons flycatchers and Aracaris.
These types of evergreen trees, the Ceiba tree or silk floss tree is the focal point for a complex ecological community living out its existence high in the forest canopy!
Another reason why they are protected the vital and rarely seen of the dissappearing ecological life.
These are the thorns that are produced on the Ceiba Tree but more profusely on the younger Types of evergreen trees of this species.
Indigenous people traditionally prized the Ceiba for constructing enormous dugout canoes made out of the trees large and cylindrical trunk because of its light weight they were perfect for this use not to mention the wood is beautiful.
The construction process normally takes months to complete, and may involve over a dozen men to complete the task on making just one canoe.
For many villages nestled in the forests of the tropical lowlands, these giant canoes provide the only connection to their neighbors and the rest of the world and for most of them civilization. Imagine you only means of transportation is winding through the waterways of the rainforest on a canoe.