FoI
Showy Silk Cotton Tree   
Foto info
Showy Silk Cotton Tree
ative Photo: Dinesh Valke
Common name: Showy Silk Cotton Tree, Silk Cotton Tree • Manipuri: খুমন তেৰা Khuman tera • Marathi: देव सावर Dev-savar • Tamil: வெள்ளைக்குங்கிலியம் Vellaikungiliyam • Malayalam: Kallilavu • Bengali: সেমল Semal • Kuki: Inpang • Assamese: Dumboil • Sanskrit: कूटशाल्मली Kutasalmali
Botanical name: Bombax insigne    Family: Bombacaceae (Silk Cotton Tree family)
Synonyms: Salmalia insignis

Showy Silk Cotton Tree is a large deciduous tree very similar and often mistaken for the red Silk Cotton Tree, with an unarmed or slightly prickly trunk. Leaves are compound, with 7-9 leaflets arranged on a common petiole 7 to 10 inches long. Leaflets are 5-6 X 1-1.75 inches, obovate in shape, with a pointed tip. Petiolules very short. Sepal tube is urn-shaped, slightly 2-lobed, 1.5 inches long, sometimes prickly outside, densely silky within. The species name insigne means striking, noted, spectacular. And it is a striking tree indeed. Flowers are very showy, scarlet, pink, creamy, or white. Petals 5, narrowed into the base, 3-6 X 1-1.5 inches, turned back. Stamens are long and numerous, arranged in bundles of 50 or more and completely filling the flower cup. (This is a very good distinguishing character to separate it from the Red Silk Cotton.) Fruit is a capsule reaching almost a foot in length by 2-2.5 inches in diameter, distinctly five-angled (another good distinguishing character), filled with silky cotton and round seeds. Flowering:November-January.

Identification credit: Dinesh Valke
Photographed at Tungareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary, Maharashtra.
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