The Ceiba Tree a.k.a. The Kapok Tree

 Ceiba Tree - Kapok Tree

We are fortunate to have many large trees on our property. I have been wanting to blog about the changes I observed in this tree during the first year we lived on our property. This tree is called Ceiba in Costa Rica, known in other places as the Kapok Tree. The picture above was taken the first time I saw it along the Rio Viejo. The tree was was full of green leaves.  

 Ceiba - Kapok Seed Pods 

Many of the trees in Costa Rica drop their leaves during the dry season. This helps the tree to conserve water needs during the dry time. I noticed this tree lost its leaves and then a while later green pods appeared.

I did a little research and learned that the tree was going to seed. Every time I crossed the river I would check the status of the tree until one day the pods began to pop open and out came an incredibly soft fluffy fiber with seeds inside.
Ceiba - Kapok Seeds

A few times, from our house, we watched clouds of this fluff being dispersed by the wind.

A Kapok tree in the valley

You can see the Ceiba tree full of fluff in the lower middle portion of the picture above.

 A lot of the fiber fell just below the tree. I collected many seeds from here as well as ones that drifted over to our house.

Ceiba - Kapok new leaves

After all of the fiber dropped then new leaves began to appear on the tree. It was fun watching this transformation over several months. I am happy I documented it because this year the tree did not go to seed. I read that it only does so occasionally with no set pattern. The seeds were easy to germinate in plastic bags in the vivero. We planted dozens of them on the property and some are already more than seven feet tall!