Botanical Name: Ceiba aesculifolia
Species: Ceiba pentandra (L.) Gaertn. – kapoktree
Bombax aesculifolium Kunth Ceiba acuminata (S.Watson) Rose Eriodendron acuminatum S.Watson Eriodendr
Common Names: Pochote
Habitat: Ceiba aesculifolia is native to Central America – Costa Rica north to Mexico. It grows normally on dry plains or hillsides, mainly at elevations up to 1,500 metres. A rare species found in low, dry deciduous forests from Mexico to Costa Rica .
Ceiba aesculifolia is a deciduous Tree growing to 25 m (82ft) by 20 m (65ft) at a medium rate, with a spreading crown. The thick bole, which is armed with stout, conic prickles, is usually short. The tree is not self-fertile.
The tree is harvested from the wild, and also cultivated in parts of its range, for its seed floss, which is used as a stuffing material. The floss is in great demand in the United States and there is good ground for believing that the industry may become one of importance in Central America, since the trees, once established, grow well in dry and rocky regions unsuited for agriculture or other purposes. Substantial amounts of the fibre are already being exported from Guatemala. The plant is sometimes grown as an ornamental.
Cultivation: It is a tropical plant. Succeeds in poor, dry soils.
Propagation: Through seeds.
Edible portion: Fruit, Seeds. Young leaves – cooked. Ripe fruits are eaten stewed. The young tender fruits are sometimes cooked and eaten. Seeds – roasted.
A plant recommended for digestive disorders. In the State of Mexico it is used as a purgative and emetic and Quintana Roo only as an emetic. In Yucatan fermented bark is used for sunstroke.
The seedpods contain an abundant floss that has a wide range of uses. Traditionally, it is used as a stuffing material in pillows, cushions, toys etc; as a tinder for starting fires; and can also be used to make wicks for candles. The Maya used to weave covers from it. In more recent times, the floss has been found to be very effective as an insulating material in refrigerators.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.