Kapoktree, Java Cotton, Java Kapok Ceiba pentandra

Detailed Listing For
Botanical Name:

Ceiba pentandra







Common Name:

Kapoktree, Java Cotton, Java Kapok

Seeds Per Pound:
3.75 lb
Average Viable Seeds/Packet:
Germination Test Type:
Collection Locale:
Crop Year:
Minimum Hardiness Zone:
Harvest hemisphere:
In Stock: 3.75 lb
Items are priced on a curve, you can buy any 'bulk quantity' up to what we have in stock, some examples are:
1 packet (~ 11 seeds)
10 gram (~ 198 seeds)
1 oz (~ 562 seeds)
1 lb (~ 8990 seeds)
Growing Info, follow in order:
Scarification: Soak in water, let stand in water for 48 hours.
Stratification: none required.
Germination: sow seed 1/2" deep, tamp the soil, keep moist but not wet.
Other: They germinate best at around 25 degC (77F). Keep the soil constantly moist.
Short description:

Conservation Plant Characteristics

Ceiba pentandra (L.) Gaertn.

Duration Perennial
Growth Habit Tree, Shrub
Native Status PR (N), VI (N)
Federal T/E Status
National Wetland Indicator
Active Growth Period Fall
After Harvest Regrowth Rate
Bloat None
C:N Ratio
Coppice Potential No
Fall Conspicuous No
Fire Resistant No
Flower Color White
Flower Conspicuous Yes
Foliage Color Green
Foliage Porosity Summer Dense
Foliage Porosity Winter Dense
Foliage Texture Medium
Fruit/Seed Color Black
Fruit/Seed Conspicuous Yes
Growth Form Single Crown
Growth Rate Rapid
Height at 20 Years, Maximum (feet) 130
Height, Mature (feet) 150.0
Known Allelopath No
Leaf Retention Yes
Low Growing Grass No
Nitrogen Fixation None
Resprout Ability No
Shape and Orientation
Growth Requirements
Adapted to Coarse Textured Soils Yes
Adapted to Fine Textured Soils Yes
Adapted to Medium Textured Soils Yes
Anaerobic Tolerance Low
CaCO3 Tolerance
Cold Stratification Required No
Drought Tolerance Low
Fertility Requirement Medium
Fire Tolerance Medium
Frost Free Days, Minimum 365
Hedge Tolerance Low
Moisture Use
pH, Minimum
pH, Maximum
Planting Density per Acre, Minimum 320
Planting Density per Acre, Maximum 640
Precipitation, Minimum 39
Precipitation, Maximum 98
Root Depth, Minimum (inches) 24
Salinity Tolerance
Shade Tolerance
Temperature, Minimum (°F) 40
Bloom Period Winter
Commercial Availability
Fruit/Seed Abundance High
Fruit/Seed Period Begin Spring
Fruit/Seed Period End Summer
Fruit/Seed Persistence No
Propagated by Bare Root No
Propagated by Bulb No
Propagated by Container No
Propagated by Corm No
Propagated by Cuttings Yes
Propagated by Seed Yes
Propagated by Sod No
Propagated by Sprigs No
Propagated by Tubers No
Seed per Pound 48722
Seed Spread Rate
Seedling Vigor
Small Grain No
Vegetative Spread Rate Moderate
Berry/Nut/Seed Product Yes
Christmas Tree Product No
Fodder Product Yes
Fuelwood Product Medium
Lumber Product Yes
Naval Store Product No
Nursery Stock Product No
Palatable Browse Animal
Palatable Graze Animal
Palatable Human No
Post Product Yes
Protein Potential
Pulpwood Product Yes
Veneer Product Yes
more »

Ceiba pentandra is a tropical tree of the order Malvales and the family Malvaceae (previously separated in the family Bombacaceae), native to Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, northern South America, and (as the variety C. pentandravar. guineensis) to tropical west Africa. A somewhat smaller variety is found throughout southern Asia and the East Indies. Kapokis the most used common name for the tree and may also refer to the cotton-like fluff obtained from its seed pods. The tree is cultivated for the seed fibre, particularly in south-east Asia, and is also known as the Java cotton, Java kapok, silk-cotton, samauma, or ceiba.

Common names

  • English – Kapok, ceiba, white silk-cotton tree
  • Chinese - Mumian - 木棉[3]
  • Haitian Creole – Mapou
  • Spanish – Ceiba, lupuna (Peru)
  • Portuguese – Sumaúma (Portugal), samaúma (Brazil), mafumeira (Brazil), ocá (São Tomé and Príncipe), poilão (Guinea-Bissau and Portugal).
  • French – Fromager
  • Surinamese – Kankantrie
  • Hindi – Safed semal - सफ़ेद सेमल
  • Manipuri – মোৰেহ তেৰা - Moreh tera
  • Malayalam – Panji maram പഞ്ഞി മരം
  • Tamil – Ilavam இலவம்
  • Telugu – Tellaburaga
  • Tagalog/Filipino – Bulak or bulac
  • Marathi – Samali
  • Kannada – Dudi
  • Sanskrit – Kutashalmali
  • Bengali – শ্ৱেত সিমল - Shwet simul
  • Assamese – শিমলু - Simolu
  • Samoan – Vavae
  • Khmer - ផ្លែគរ
  • Sinhala – Kotta
  • Ashante, Twi and Fanteen – Onyãã, or onyina
  • Mandingo – Banã, bãnda (Dioula), bantã (Malinké), banti
  • Indonesian – Randu/kapuk randu
  • Odia – Semili tula
  • Yoruba – Araba
  • Malay – Kekabu
  • Thai — นุ่น
  • Vietnamese – Cây gòn
  • Yucatec Maya – Ya'axche (modern); yaxche (colonial/archaic)


The tree grows to 240 ft (73 m), as confirmed by climbing and tape drop with reports of Kapoks up to 252 feet (77 meters) Trunks can often be up to 3 m (9.8 ft) in diameter above the extensive buttresses. The very largest individuals, however, can be 19 feet (5.8 meters) thick or more above the buttresses.

The buttress roots can be clearly seen in photographs extending 40 to 50 feet (12 to 15 meters) up the trunk of some specimens and extending out from the trunk as much as 65 feet (20 meters) and then continuing below ground to a total length of 165 feet (50 meters)

The trunk and many of the larger branches are often crowded with large simple thorns. These major branches, usually 4 to 6 in number, can be up to 6 feet (1.8 meters) thick and form a crown of foliage as much as 201 feet (61 meters) in width. The palmate leaves are composed of 5 to 9 leaflets, each up to 20 cm (7.9 in) long.

The trees produce several hundred 15 cm (5.9 in) pods containing seeds surrounded by a fluffy, yellowish fibre that is a mix of lignin and cellulose.

The referenced reports make it clear that C. pentandra is among the largest trees in the world. One of the oldest known Kapok trees, at 200 years, lives in Miami, Florida.


Kapok seeds within fibres in Kolkata, West Bengal, India.

The commercial tree is most heavily cultivated in the rainforests of Asia, notably in Java(hence its nicknames), the Philippines, Malaysia, and Hainan Island in China, as well as in South America.

The flowers are an important source of nectar and pollen for honey bees.

Native tribes along the Amazon River harvest kapok fibre to wrap around their blowgundarts. The fibres create a seal that allows the pressure to force the dart through the tube.

Kapok fibre is light, very buoyant, resilient, resistant to water, but it is very flammable. The process of harvesting and separating the fibre is labour-intensive and manual. It is difficult to spin, but is used as an alternative to down as filling in mattresses, pillows, upholstery, zafus, and stuffed toys such as teddy bears, and for insulation. It was previously much used in life jackets and similar devices until synthetic materials largely replaced the fibre. The seeds produce an oil that is used locally in soap and can be used as fertilizer.

Ethnomedical uses

Ceiba pentandra bark decoction has been used as a diuretic, aphrodisiac, and to treat headache, as well as type II diabetes. It is used as an additive in some versions of the psychedelic drink Ayahuasca.

Kapok seed oil

A vegetable oil can be pressed from kapok seeds. The oil has a yellow colour and a pleasant, mild odour and taste, resembling cottonseed oil. It becomes rancid quickly when exposed to air. Kapok oil is produced in India, Indonesia and Malaysia. It has an iodine value of 85–100; this makes it a nondrying oil, which means that it does not dry out significantly when exposed to air. Kapok oil has some potential as a biofuel and in paint preparation.

Religion and folklore

The kapok is a sacred symbol in Maya mythology.

According to the folklore of Trinidad and Tobago, the Castle of the Devil is a huge kapok growing deep in the forest in which Bazil the demon of death was imprisoned by a carpenter. The carpenter tricked the devil into entering the tree in which he carved seven rooms, one above the other, into the trunk. Folklore claims that Bazil still resides in that tree.

Most masks coming from Burkina Faso, especially those of Bobo and Mossi people, are carved from the kapok timber.


C. pentandra is the national emblem of Guatemala, Puerto Rico, and Equatorial Guinea. It appears on the coat of arms and flag of Equatorial Guinea.

more »
Seed Shelf Life:

Horticultural Impex states 1-2 years.