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An interesting native plant from central South America!

An interesting native plant from central South America!

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An interesting native plant from central South America!
A common name for the Toborochi Tree in Spanish is arbol botella (bottle tree), which is appropriate considering the shape of its trunk. And, the trees are sometimes called palo borracho (drunken stick) because as they age they begin to look disheveled and the upper trunk becomes distorted.
Also known as the “silk floss tree”. The name “silk floss” derives from the seed pods which have fluffy, cottony material rather like milkweeds do; it has been used as stuffing, and to make paper and other things. In WWII, it was used to stuff Navy life jackets.


Young trees have multitudes of thorny spines along the trunk which help protect the juicy juvenile from predators in the wild; at the conservatory they keep children from grabbing hold and climbing up.


Toborochis are used in ornamental gardens and as street trees in dry, sunny parts of the world where the temperatures do not fall much below freezing. A nice bonus if you have the climate for one of these trees is that in addition to hummingbirds, monarch butterflies like to feed on the nectar of the flowers. The flowers look similar to hibiscus blooms. Hibiscus and Toborochi belong to the same plant family, Malvaceae.


The Toborochi Tree (Ceiba speciosa) looks pregnant! Believe it or not… there is an interesting legend attached to the Torobochi Tree too: In Bolivia, legends say a beautiful goddess hid inside the tree to give birth so the forces of evil wouldn’t find her and kill her and her baby. She comes out only in the form of the tree’s beautiful pink flowers which attract her mate, the hummingbird god.

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