The red kapok tree
The Chiang Mai valley in northern Thailand is currently adorned by the red blossom of the native Red Kapok Tree, Bombax ceiba (Bombacaceae, or lately Malvaceae). According to the explorers of the 1800’s, this tree was a characteristic sight in the Chiang Mai valley. It still is – right now!
It is fast growing and very well adapted to the dry monsoon forests here. It is suitable for a large garden, since the blossom is spectacular and also attracts nectar feeding birds. After the flowering season, you can still admire the silvery massive trunks. You do not need to do anything special in your garden. Let this deciduous tree follow the monsoon cycle, keeping it dry during the dry season. The young specimen at Dokmai Garden is still too young to make any flowers, but you can stroke its prickles if you dare. Thais believe that people who go to hell have to climb the tree naked, for eons!