TROPICAL PLANT ENCYCLOPEDIA


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Carnegiea gigantea, Saguaro

Carnegiea gigantea

Saguaro
Family: Cactaceae
Origin: Arizona
Small tree 10-20 ftFull sunDry conditionsWhite, off-white flowersAttracts butterflies, hummingbirdsEdibleThorny or spiny

Carnegiea gigantea are typically 10-20 feet high and live for 150-200 years. Although these plants can tolerate some shade, they prefer full sun and well-draining, dry soil conditions. The green fleshy trunks are studded with spines, have reddish-brown spots, and covered with a waxy bluish-white layer for protection. During the spring, off-white flowers bloom on the sides of the stems and attract hummingbirds and butterflies. These flowers are also edible and a traditional food source for Native Americans.

The saguaro is also valued for its edible fruit, which ripen in late spring or summer. These fruits are covered with a thick leathery skin and filled with juicy pulp and several large seeds. The fruit has a sweet, sugary taste and is high in vitamin C and dietary fiber. Saguaro fruits can be made into jams, jellies, and syrups and are a popular treat in the Southwest United States.

In addition to its culinary uses, Saguaro has numerous cultural significance. It is a symbol of the Sonoran Desert and has been featured prominently in films and television series. The saguaro is considered an important medicinal plant and its fruits are used in traditional medicine for various treatments. The fruit also has a long history of being used for its healing properties.

Saguaro can be grown in USDA Zone 9-11 and is easily grown in a pot in cold regions. It requires well-draining soil and full sun in order to thrive. If planted in too much shade, the plant will not flower and may suffer from fungal diseases. To ensure that your saguaro continues to grow and thrive, water it deeply once a month and fertilize it in spring and summer. Make sure to provide a sturdy support for the cactus, as the older specimens can become top-heavy.





Link to this plant:
https://toptropicals.com/catalog/uid/carnegiea_gigantea.htm

Catesbaea spinosa, Lily Thorn

Catesbaea spinosa

Lily Thorn
Family: Rubiaceae
Origin: Antilles
Large shrub 5-10 ft tallSmall tree 10-20 ftFull sunSemi-shadeRegular waterWhite, off-white flowersYellow, orange flowersFragrantAttracts butterflies, hummingbirdsEdibleThorny or spiny

The tree about 4in thick and twelve or 14ft in height; the bark is smooth, of a greenish russet color, and the wood seemingly tough and hard. The leaves were like those of box, but smaller; they grow in clusters round the stalks, by intervals of an 1in space, more or less; from every cluster shoots forth two sharp pliant spines. The flowers are tubulous, of a yellow color about 6in long, hanging pendulous. They are monopetalous, being very small at the calix, and wide at the mouth, in form of a roman trumpet, except that their verge is divided into four deep segments, which are usually reflected back.

The fruit is of an oval form, and of the size of a pullet's egg; the flesh or pulp of it is like that of a ripe apple, covered with a smooth yellow skin. The middle of the fruit is hollow, containing many small triangular seeds. The fruit has an agreeable tartness and good flavor, and seems as if it was capable of being improved by cultivation, but is little known.



Catesbaea spinosa, Lily Thorn
Catesbaea spinosa, Lily Thorn
Catesbaea spinosa, Lily Thorn
Catesbaea spinosa, Lily Thorn


Link to this plant:
https://toptropicals.com/catalog/uid/catesbaea_spinosa.htm

Ceiba boliviana, Ceiba

Ceiba boliviana

Ceiba
Family: Malvaceae    (Formerly:Bombacaceae)
Subfamily: Bombacoideae
Origin: Bolivia
Can be used for bonsaiBig tree taller than 20 ftFull sunModerate waterPink flowersDeciduous plantAttracts butterflies, hummingbirdsThorny or spiny

One of the more impressive trees, with large white flowers streaked with red, and a trunk armed with massive conical thorns.




Link to this plant:
https://toptropicals.com/catalog/uid/ceiba_boliviana.htm

Ceiba insignis, Chorisia insignis, White Floss Silk Tree, Drunken Tree

Ceiba insignis, Chorisia insignis

White Floss Silk Tree, Drunken Tree
Family: Malvaceae    (Formerly:Bombacaceae)
Subfamily: Bombacoideae
Origin: Southern Brazil, Argentina
Can be used for bonsaiBig tree taller than 20 ftSmall tree 10-20 ftFull sunRegular waterModerate waterWhite, off-white flowersYellow, orange flowersDeciduous plantThorny or spinySubtropical, mature plant cold hardy at least to 30s F for a short time

The trunk becomes bottle shaped as it ages, and it is covered with stout spines, more decorative than really frightening. Can make a shade tree in warmer areas, or an interesting patio tree. Many bonsai them in large pots. In deep soil this can become a good shade tree, otherwise it is grown for its spectacular flowers and interesting shape. Pear shaped fruits containing a silky floss coming out of the seeds. Need a good drainage. Abundant water in the growing season can make a large tree quickly as they have been recorded to grow 5 meters (15 feet) a year in optimum conditions. Hardy to about 20 degrees F, although hardiness varies with individuals.





Link to this plant:
https://toptropicals.com/catalog/uid/ceiba_insignis.htm

Ceiba pentandra, Kapok tree, Silk Cotton Tree

Ceiba pentandra

Kapok tree, Silk Cotton Tree
Family: Malvaceae    (Formerly:Bombacaceae)
Subfamily: Bombacoideae
Origin: Tropical America
USDA Zone: 9-11?
USDA Plant Hardiness MapBig tree taller than 20 ftSmall tree 10-20 ftFull sunModerate waterDry conditionsWhite, off-white flowersDeciduous plantAttracts butterflies, hummingbirdsThorny or spinySubtropical, mature plant cold hardy at least to 30s F for a short time

The ancient Maya of Central America believed that a great Ceiba tree stood at the center of the earth, connecting the terrestrial world to the spirit-world above. The long thick vines hanging down from its spreading limbs provided a connection to the heavens for the souls that ascended them. Even today, these grand trees are regularly spared when forests are cut it is a common event to see lone, isolated Ceiba trees proudly spreading their shady branches high above a pasture or agricultural field, a relict of the great forests that once were there. The giant limbs of the umbrella-shaped crown are laden with epiphytes (aerial plants) and provide a home for countless species of animals. Birds feed and nest in the tree's high perches, mammals use the enormous limbs as aerial highways, frogs raise their tadpoles in the tiny pools that collect in bromeliads, and insects reach the peak of their diversity in the canopy of giant trees like the Ceiba. Ceiba flowers open in the evening and are pollinated by pollen- and nectar-feeding bats. Their kapok-surrounded seeds are adapted for dispersal by wind.

Some varieties / cultivars have spiny trunks, others smooth.

See Article about this tree:

Ceiba pentandra, Kapok Tree - Maya's Sacred Tree at the Center of the Earth.





Link to this plant:
https://toptropicals.com/catalog/uid/ceiba_pentandra.htm

Ceiba pentandra - Kapok Tree

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