Ceiba tree puerto rico: Visit the Majestic Ceiba Tree in Patillas

All About Puerto Rican Trees

The official tree of Puerto Rico is the ceiba, also called silk-cotton tree or kapok tree. Often the tallest tree in the forest, the ceiba attains heights of 150 feet and has a ridged columnar trunk and a massive umbrella-shaped canopy. Its far-reaching limbs often host aerial plants, such as moss and bromeliads.

The ceiba was important to the island’s indigenous Taínos because its thick trunks were perfect for carving into canoes. Its flowers are small and inconspicuous, but it produces a large ellipsoid fruit that, when split open, reveals an abundance of fluffy fibers, called kapok.

Arguably Puerto Rico’s most beautiful tree, though, is the flamboyan, also known as royal poinciana. If you visit the island between June and August, you’re sure to notice the abundance of reddish-orange blooms that cover the umbrella-shaped canopy of the flamboyan. It is a gorgeous sight to behold. The tree is also distinguished by fernlike leaves and the long brown seedpods it produces.

A flamboyan tree in Puerto Rico. Photo © Gastonebaldo/Dreamstime.

Probably the most plentiful and easily identifiable tree in Puerto Rico is the mighty palm, which grows throughout the island. There are actually many varieties of palm in Puerto Rico. Among them are the coconut palm, which has a smooth gray bark marked by ring scars from fallen fronds and which bears the beloved coconut in abundance; the royal palm, distinguished by its tall, thin, straight trunk, which grows to 25 feet and sports a crown of leaves that are silver on the underside; the Puerto Rican hat palm, featuring a fat tubular trunk and fan-shaped frond; and the sierra palm, which has a thin straight trunk and thick thatch.

Puerto Rico’s mangrove forests are found in swampy coastal areas throughout the island. Much of the island’s coast was once covered in mangrove, but a lot of it has been destroyed to make way for commercial development. Fortunately efforts are under way to preserve many of the island’s last remaining mangrove forests in parks in Piñones, Boquerón, Fajardo, Vieques, and elsewhere.

The mangrove tree is a unique plant. For one thing, it is able to grow along the ocean’s shallow edges, absorbing, processing, and secreting salt from the water. But what’s truly amazing about the mangrove, and what makes it so vital to marine life, is its adaptive root system. Because the trees grow in thick, oxygen-deprived mud, they sprout aerial roots to absorb oxygen from the air and nutrients from the surface of the water. The aerial roots take many different forms, including thousands of tiny pencil-shaped roots sticking up from shallow waters; big knee-shaped roots that emerge from the ground and loop back down; and roots that sprout from branches.

Between its complex tangle of roots and its low-lying compact canopy, the mangrove forest plays several important roles in the environment, primarily by providing habitat to local wildlife. Its branches are a haven to nesting birds, and its underwater root systems protect crabs, snails, crustaceans, and small fish from predators. Mangrove forests also help protect the coastal plains from violent storms, reduce erosion, and filter the ocean waters. And finally, mangrove forests actually build land by providing nooks and crannies within their root systems that capture soil, aerate it, and create conditions where other plants can grow.

Mangrove forest along a river. Photo © Dennis Van De Water/Dreamstime.

Puerto Rico is rich in plants that have edible, medicinal, or other practical uses. For the Taíno Indians, the island’s forests served as their pharmacy and grocery store.

The mamey is prized not only for the delicious fruit it bears but also for its fragrant flowers and lovely appearance. Resembling a Southern magnolia, the mamey grows to 60 feet high and features a short stout trunk and dense foliage with long, glossy, leathery dark-green leaves. The flowers feature 4-6 white petals and have a lovely fragrance. The fruit is brown and leathery on the outside, and inside can be sweet and tender or crisp and sour, depending on the variety. Another popular tree that bears edible fruit is the mango. The ubiquitous leafy tree grows in forests, backyards, and alongside roadways, and in the summer each tree bears what appear to be hundreds of mangoes. When ripe, the fruit is covered with a thick yellow and brown skin, but inside is a soft succulent fruit similar to a peach. You’ll often see locals on the side of the road selling bags of them out of their trucks.

The curious calabash tree served an entirely different purpose in Taíno culture. Its greatest value was in the large, round, gourd-like fruit that sprouts directly from the tree’s trunk. After the fruit was cleansed of its pulp, the remaining shell was dried and used as a bowl for food preparation and storage. Sometimes the bowls were decorated with elaborate carvings etched into the sides before the shell dried. Carved calabash bowls are popular souvenir items today.


Relax beneath palm trees, kayak through bioluminescent bays, or dance the night away to the sounds of salsa: Experience the Island of Enchantment with Moon Puerto Rico.

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Cottonwood | it’s… What is Cottonwood?

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Cotton tree

Cotton tree in Honolulu, Hawaii

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plants
Department: Angiosperms
Grade: Dicots
Order: Maliflora
Family: Malvaceae
Gen. : Ceiba
Type: Cottonwood
Latin name
Ceiba pentandra (L.) Gaertn.

Systematics
on Wikispecies

Pictures of
at Wikimedia Commons

ITIS 21595
NCBI 193163

Cotton tree (lat. Ceiba pentandra ) is a tropical tree of the Malvaceae family. Under natural conditions, it grows in Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, the northern part of South America and in the tropics of West Africa. The tree was one of the sacred symbols of Mayan mythology. Also known by the names Kapok , Five starred ceiba , Sumauma . The word kapok is also used for the name of the fiber obtained from the fruit of this tree.

A tree 60-70 m high, with a very wide trunk with props. The trunk and large branches are intensively covered with very large, prickly spines. The leaves are palmately compound, consisting of 5-9 leaflets 20 cm long, resembling palm leaves. Flowers are large, white. Mature trees produce several hundred fruits — large (15 cm) opening boxes containing seeds. The inner walls of the boxes are covered with numerous fluffy yellowish shiny hairs resembling cotton, which are a mixture of lignin and cellulose. The process of harvesting and separating the fiber is manual and laborious. nine0006

Cotton boll with fibers inside

The fiber is light, buoyant, elastic, resistant to water, highly flammable. Used for stuffing upholstered furniture, life jackets, circles, soft toys, as well as sound and heat insulating material. Not used for yarn. At present, the use of fiber has been largely replaced by man-made materials. A semi-drying fatty oil is also obtained from the seeds, replacing cottonseed oil. The oil is used in the manufacture of soap or as a fertilizer. nine0006

The tree is widely cultivated in Southeast Asia, especially on the island of Java, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and also in South America.

A similar fiber was found in another tree, Bombax ceiba (lat. Bombax ceiba ).

The tree is one of the national symbols of Puerto Rico.

Flower and bud, fruit, roots, bark

Parc de la Ceiba (Ceiba Tree Park)

Parc de La Ceiba (Ceiba Tree Park) — Secret World