Bombax ceiba 'Orange Glow'
COMPARATIVE CHARACTERISTICS OF COMMONLY CULTIVATED BOMBACACEOUS PLANTS
© Kirsten A. Llamas
Note: Rather than long lists of characteristics for confusing genera and species, I usually provide a few easily recognized features ("field-marks") which distinguish the commonly cultivated genera:
Adansonia (Baobab): Flowers creamy white, dangle from a long peduncle (floral stalk). Stamens numerous, fused from the base to the middle into a thick column; the distal ends are free, forming a globular "puff". Leaves palmately compound.
Bombax (Red kapok): Flowers large, solitary in the leaf axils but may appear to be in small clusters where axils are close together, 6 to 8" across. Stamens numerous in 2 concentric rings with only the bases fused (like a comb). The stamens are loosely clustered in 5 groups in each ring. Leaves palmately compound, articulated (have a little joint there they can be broken away from the petiole).
Ceiba (Giant kapok): Flowers creamy, to 3" across, in lax clusters, stamens 5, fused only at the base. Leaves palmately compound.
Chorisia (Silk floss tree): Stamens 5, partially or completely fused into a long column. The stamens are surrounded at the base with a ring of 5, more or less hairy, sterile stamens or staminodes (the corona or crown). Leaves palmately compound.
Ochroma (Balsa): Flowers creamy white, petals folded tightly around a thick staminal column. Leaves large, lobed, one of the few bombacaceous genera with simple leaves.
Pachira (Guiana chestnut): 1 ring of numerous long stamens fused at the base. Solitary in the leaf axils. Leaves palmately compound and leaflets articulated.
Pseudobombax (Shaving-brush tree): Stamens numerous in a single ring fused at the base only into a staminal column. Flowers borne at the tip (apex) of the branches. Leaves palmately compound, Leaflets NOT articulated.