The Silk Floss tree (Ceiba speciosa or Chorisia speciosa) is very unique tree species from the subtropical regions of South America. The flowers of this tree range in color from creamy white to dark pink and white. It is sometimes confused with the "White Silk Floss tree".
It has taken me a full year of watching this tree species as it passed through the seasons to get this series of pictures. Yesterday I was finally able to get some good pictures of the puffy "silk" balls and the seeds. The pods in the picture above are about 5-6 inches long and are packed with a bunch of silky cotton-ball like puffs that each contain a seed. The way that this tree spreads its seeds is by the seed pod bursting open and letting the wind carry away the little silky puffs.
In the image above you can see one of the seed pods just after it has burst open and before any of the cotton-like wads have blown away. In the image below you can see another wad of silky puffs that is slowly letting the seeds drift away one at a time. You can see one black seed in this image.
The next image is of one of the individual seeds still attached to a small puff of the silky fibers that I picked up off the ground under the tree. There were several hundred of these in the grass under the tree. I hard a hard time getting a picture of this seed as there was a bit of a breeze which kept floating the little silky puff right out of my hand as it was a small down feather. They look like little cotton balls but they are a lot lighter. The seed itself is about 3 mm in diameter.
Another interesting feature of this tree are its thorns. To give an idea of their size and shape I took a picture with a Euro coin (slightly larger than a quarter). These are fairly representative of the thorn size although I have seen some that are at least twice this size.