In our gardens: Floss-Silk Tree
Formerly known as Chorisia speciosa, the Floss-Silk Tree, Ceiba speciosa, has had a name change and moved from the Bombacaceae family into the Malvaceae (Hibiscus) family. The Floss-Silk tree is native to southern South America and boasts a broad range of flower colors — from pure white to hot pink and an attractive green colored bark studded with grey thorns. In the Naples area peak flowering is always in October.
After flowering the tree produces a large fruit that resemble an avocado that later releases a fluff of small silky white seeds resembling kapok-like floss which sail away in the wind like dandelions. The tree is deciduous (leaf-less) after flowering.
This extremely drought-tolerant tree is a perfect match for Southwest Florida’s seasonal droughts, occasionally cold snaps and poor soil conditions. No supplemental irrigation is necessary. No known diseases or pests adversely affect this ornamental tree. Additionally, cultivars are now available to suit a variety of needs such as flower color and tree size. Varieties to look for include ‘Naples Pink,’ ‘Naples White,’ ‘Pink Princess’ and ‘Majestic Beauty.’ The best location for silk floss is full sun and away from house, since they can become a 30-foot-high tree in our area. The grafted varieties remain much smaller, closer to 15 feet.
Look for mature specimens of Floss-Silk trees along U.S. 41; locally known landscape architect Jack Lieber incorporated many Floss-Silks trees in Pelican Marsh and the Vineyards and the County has utilized Floss-Silk trees at the intersection of Livingston and Golden Gate.
The Naples Garden Club wants to enrich the pleasure of living in Naples by making the names of its trees and plants known to you during their blooming season. If you see a plant or tree in bloom and you want to know its name, e-mail a photo to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will notify you or print the answer.