Bombax ellipticum is widespread in many countries of South America. It’s native of Nicaragua, Southern Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala and it’s been introduced many tropical countries of the world, such as Cuba, Florida, Haiti and Dominican Republic. It is present from sea level to 1800 meters above sea level, and it grows in poor soils or in rocky, dry habitats, exposed to sunlight (it doesn’t bear shady positions).
Bombax ellipticum is a pretty, unusual deciduous tree that belongs to the family of Bombacaeae. Its grey-green trunk is typically enlarged in its basal part, with a function of water storage for the summer drought: the diameter of the engorged part can reach 1 meter! From this swollen stem-trunk, many branches develop, giving to the plant the aspect of a stump. Bombax ellipticum has attractive, big leaves, brownish when young and green when completely develop. The flowers look like brushes, or strange carnival decorations, for its white or purple petals which curl back toward the axe of the flower and its numerous, long straight purple (or white) stamens coming outside the corolla. The flowering period occurs in winter and early spring. Fruits are elongated and full of seeds.
Bombax ellipticum is not particularly difficult to take care. It needs sun and plenty of water. Anyway, pay attention: if you water too much root rotting can affect your plant. It’s from tropical areas, with an high degree of humidity. It doesn’t bear temperatures below 0ºC. In our climates (Southern Europe) it’s better to grow it in a pot, so you can easily put it indoors in winter. This plant need a bright position: it doesn’t like shade.
Propagation of Bombax ellipticum is made by seeds and cuttings.