Saturday, October 18, 2008

Pink Saturday - Silk Floss Tree

Beverly at the blog How Sweet the Sound has a great idea! It's Pink Saturday. Post about something pink, on Saturday. Here are the rules if you want to Get Pink!

Southern California's mild climate has allowed landscape designers and gardeners to experiment with plants from all over the world, and the ones that have adapted successfully have become much-loved favorites of urban planning.

San Vicente Boulevard in Santa Monica and Brentwood is known for its broad grassy median planted with huge specimens of Coral Trees, native trees from South Africa. Other sections of town have streets lined with jacaranda trees, with blooms of blue-violet in May and June - famous for being both beautiful and maddeningly messy. In some locations, huge single specimens of Moreton Bay Figs, native of Australia have thrived and spread like giants to become landmarks on their own.

I was in Glendale the other day, and noticed street trees with huge hibiscus-like blossoms of gorgeous pink growing near the Glendale Civic Auditorium.

The petals were large and droopy, the leaves floppy, and the trees had an overall loose, sketchy beauty that made me curious what they were.

The botanical name is Ceiba speciosa - formerly known as Chorisia speciosa. The common name is Silk Floss Tree. It's a deciduous tree native to South America, growing in Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil.

It's a great tree for urban planting, as it's drought tolerant. It will grow quickly if water is available, but can survive when water is scarce. In young trees, the truck and branches are green with chlorophyll, making it able to synthesize nutrients even when its leaves have fallen.

In its native land, it is sometimes known as Palo boraccho - the drunken tree. I couldn't find a story about how it got that name.

In addition to beautiful flowers, it has a wickedly stout thorns on its trunk and branches - making it, again, a useful plant for urban gardens - or for Sleeping Beauty's thorn-entangled tower.

In South America, migrating monarch butterflies are drawn to the hibiscus-like flowers. I can only imagine how stunning it would be to see these showy flowers surrounded by butterflies! Plantings of the Silk Floss Tree in the L.A. County Arboretum and Huntington Gardens attract flocks of feral parakeets that depend on its fruit pods for a source of food.

Like its relative the kapok tree, or Ceiba pentandra, the Silk Floss Tree's seed pods are full of fluff - hence its common name. Here's a picture of the seed pods, and instructions if you want to grow a Silk Floss Tree yourself.


Stacey said...

It's much the same in South Florida, with lots of wonderful exotic flowers growing, but I've never seen a tree like that! It's fabulous! I miss my tropical flowers now I'm over here in Scotland. Thanks for sharing, and Happy Pink Saturday! :-) Stacey

One Shabby Old House said...

That is a beautiful tree. I loved that you gave us such great information on it as well as the others mentioned. It really helps us flower lovers.
Happy PS

SmilingSally said...

I started to oooo and ahhhh over the floppy flowering tree and then I got a look at the thorns on that other growing pink thing. WOW. Happy Pink Saturday! I'm giving away a BOX of new books. Come enter.

Nihal said...

Oh I'd want this tree to sun bathe all day, lol:)
What I know is that it's gorgeous when in bloom with huge deep pink blossoms that is already presented by you... I love these trees!
Such perfectly selected topic, Glennis.
My wishes for a Happy Pink Saturday.

Gabriela said...

Happy Pink Saturday!

Palo borracho trees have beautiful PINK flowers and you got great shots!

~ Gabriela ~

Anonymous said...

What great photos and info about such a beautiful tree! Sadly, us folk in MO have NOTHING to compare to that! I loved your trip to the sale on your previous post, too. What a good time that must've been! dana

Anonymous said...

Glennis, Happy Pink Saturday. The Silk Floss Tree certainly has exquisite blooms. I miss so much of the flora we had in south Florida.

I've had you so much on my mind. Please know that I am keeping you in my prayers.

Anonymous said...

You found a beauty here. The thorns on that tree are amazing. The blossoms are some of the prettiest I've seen with the pink and yellow. They look similar to lilies and a little like an orchid too. I'm glad it's cooled off for us here in Southern California for a couple of days :0)

Nancy said...

Very lovely flowers. I shouldn't plant anything except drought tolerant. We are down 13 inches for the year. Thanks for the pretty garden tour. :)Nancy

Colleen - the AmAzINg Mrs. B said...

Oh these photos are beautiful! I wouldn't want to get hung up in those thorns, though! Really great photos for a lovely Pink Saturday!

Being raised in Arizona, we had "different" flowers when the cactus bloomed - but these, oh my!

Fleur de Bee said...

Oh my those are STUNNING! Santa Monica is one of my most favorite places to go and hang out! I used to live in Los Angeles. You are making me "home" sick! I was telling Smilingsal who also has warmer weather that I am jealous and I need to move LOL! Those thorns are pretty wicked aren't they. I wonder if they are hinting to "NOT PICK"?

Marina Capano said...

Happy Pink Saturday!

Fantastic PINK post!nice place!
I hope you in my post!

Cathi said...

Okay, I live in SO CAL and now I'm inspired!!
Happy Pink Saturday and thanks for stopping by mine. Smiles!

Rechelle ~Walnuthaven Cottage~ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rechelle ~Walnuthaven Cottage~ said...

I'll try this again.
I concur. This climate is so agreeable to the exotic fleurs.
I used to work in Glendale a long time ago :0).
Now, if only we could get some rain. I miss rain.
Enjoy your day!

I wonder if we're neighbors.

Just A Girl said...

Thanks for the Botanical lesson! I've seen those trees around and have often wondered what they were. Sure wouldn't want to slide down that trunk tho!
Have a fun pink weekend.
Cori G.

Anonymous said...

Palo borracho ("drunken stick") seems to be derived from the fact that the tree retains water in its porous, bulbous trunk during droughts. Least that's what the Rough Guide to Argentina says....

Katie said...

Such lovely blossoms - thanks for sharing! Happy Pink Saturday!

Maryjane-The Beehive Cottage said...

Hello G!

It something to see a tree with such delicate flowers and big branches with thorns! What a contrast! Just beautiful!

Happy Pink Saturday!


Kim's Cottage said...

Such pretty pinks. I sure do miss being able to have flowers blooming year-round.

Happy Pink Saturday!


Virginia said...

That is a beautiful tree. Thanks for sharing. Happy Pink Saturday!
Blessings, Virginia

Unknown said...

Great pink flowers!
Hope you have a great pink sat.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Happy Pink Saturday! Such beautful flowers on the silk floss tree! They alomsot look like lilies.
Hugs, Pat

Mo..."Mo's Cottage" said...

I was just reading your post with Frida Kahlo...I went to San Francisco and saw her paintings a few months ago when the were here...they were Fabulous....There is just something about her and her work that I love.....your pink post and the flowers were wonderful...
Mo :-)

imjacobsmom said...

Oh, thanks for sharing, This is the most interesting tree, beautiful flowers and then huge thorns. Hmmm.
Hope you had a Happy Pink Saturday! ~ Robyn

Sherri said...

Stunning photos of a stunning flower.

Neabear said...

Wow! The flowers are beautiful. Thanks for sharing. Also thank you for visiting me too.

Unknown said...

So pretty! I love these flowers and trees. The only pretty trees with flowers we have in PA are dogwoods : ) and they are lovely, but not nearly as lovely as these! So tropical : )!

KatCollects said...

I love the beautiful hibiscus flowers. Hope you are having a great weekend.

Suzie Button said...

Beautiful flowers! Happy Pink Saturday! Suzie

Mya said...

Wow, beautiful but deadly.
Happy Pink

My Artful Heart said...

What a very pretty pink tree....I love those tropical blooms :)

Hope that you have a great pink week :)