- Specie: Floss Silk Tree (ceiba/chorisia speciosa)
- Location: Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens
I accidentally came across this spectacular tree in full bloom with its bright, happy pink flowers inside the Hong Kong botanical gardens one morning.
The tree itself is located next to the main fountain and lawn as you go up the stairs from the entrance off Upper Albert Road. I actually thought it was a displaced cherry tree that just happened to find itself in Hong Kong. But on closer inspection, the large palm-sized flowers with its elongated petals were definitively not any of the pink varieties I have come across before, like cherries and peach blossoms.
But as you can see, this Floss Silk tree is no less impressive.Further research showed, the Floss Silk, or Silk Floss, tree is a deciduous tree native to South America, which brings up the question who brought it here? That said, who can blame them…
Also, this tree is related to the red cotton trees, which are also part of ceiba family, that lined many Hong Kong streets. There are some obvious similarities, like the tall vertical form, horizontal limbs and the spiky studs on the trunk.
But instead of the cotton that is released from the fruit pods of the cotton tree, the Silk Floss tree yields silk like fibres from its fruit.
While this is by far the most spectacular sample of the specie in Hong Kong, it is not the only example. There are three more of Silk Floss trees standing on the entrance path into Hong Kong Park from Pacific Place.