Wonderful Red Silk Cotton Tree
The cute Cardboard Box Man holds a large flower, which in fact is a blossom of a wonderful red silk cotton tree, known as Bombax ceiba, or Red Silk Cotton Tree. This is an amazing sight – huge orange-red flowers with a diameter of more than 15cm on bare gray branches. The green leaves will be later. Meanwhile, flowering begins at the end of February and lasts two months. The natural range – from India to the Himalayas, but thanks to bright and beautiful flowers, people widely use it for gardening in the subtropical zone and beyond the natural range. In fact, a tall, beautiful deciduous tree grows almost throughout Southeast Asia.
During the flowering the plant visits a variety of different insects and birds – hunters after nectar, usually accumulating at the base of the sepals. Unfortunately, the flowers do not live long, usually only one night, after which they fall off, forming a continuous carpet under the tree. After the flowers fall, leaves appear on the trees, then fruits. And fruit – a box with seeds and white fluffy.
Previously, it was a very important technical culture, because it gave a silky, almost non-waterproof fiber. Accordingly, its English name is Silk Cotton Tree. The fiber from the fruits of these trees, capable of holding a weight on the water, exceeding 30 times its own. As a result, people use it for the manufacture of marine life-saving appliances – vests and lifebuoys.