Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Bombax insigne Wallich, Pl. Asiat. Rar. 1: 71, t.79, 80. 1830; Masters in Fl. Brit. India 1: 349. 1874. B. insigne Wallich vars. andamanica, polystemon & wightii; Prain in J. Asiat. Soc. Beng. 65: 62. 1893.

Beng.: Semul; Kh.: Saitu; Mal. & Tam.: Ilavu; Eng.: The Silk Cotton Tree.

Trees, up to 15 m tall; trunk marked with large leafscars, unarmed; branchlets sometimes prickly. Leaves digitate, glabrous, deciduous; leaflets 7 - 9, sessile, up to 12 cm long, obovate, cuspidate-acuminate at apex, glaucous beneath. Flowers 12 - 17 cm long, up to 22 cm in diam., solitary on leafless branchlets; peduncles stout, 1.5 cm long, curved, jointed. Calyx 3 - 5 cm long, campanuiate, truncate or slightly bilobed, coria-ceous, silky inside. Petals 5, scarlet 13 - 15 cm long, linear-oblong, narrowed at base, curved at apex, stellate-hairy outside. Stamens numerous in 5 bundles of 50 or more each opposite petals; filaments 8 - 10 cm long, unequal. Ovary ovoid, tomentose; stigmas 5-fid, Capsules 18 - 25 x 4 - 6 cm, 5 cm in diam., oblong, curved at apex, glabrous, 5-valved, woody. Seeds obovate, smooth, black, embedded in dense creamy silk fibers.

Fl. Jan. - March; Fr. April- May.

Distrib. India: Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andaman & Nicobar Islands.


Notes. very similar to Bombax ceiba, the wood is reported to be more durable than B.ceiba.

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