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CHORISIA insignis

Image of Chorisia insignis

James H. Schutte

Family

Bombacaceae

Botanical Name

CHORISIA insignis

Plant Common Name

White Floss Silk Tree, White Silk Floss Tree

General Description

This medium to large deciduous tree is distinguished by its swollen, prickly trunk and its large white late-season flowers. It is native to semi-arid lowlands of central South America.

The leaves of white silk floss tree are palmately compound, with five to seven leaflets arranged like fingers on a hand. In autumn and early winter, large, creamy-white flowers open, casting a light vanilla-like fragrance. Each flower has five wide-flaring petals and a pale yellow, cup-shaped throat. Pear-shaped seedpods develop in late winter and spring, ripening to brown before splitting to release white cottony seed-fibers. Young branches of white silk floss tree have smooth green bark, but the trunk is gray-green and dotted with conical spines.

Grow white silk floss tree in full sun in fertile but well-drained soil. Light frosts will not damage the tree but will cause it to drop its flowers. Water periodically in spring and summer but withhold water in fall to promote heavier bloom. Chorisia insignis is well suited as a specimen tree for a campus or park. It is also excellent for xeriscaping.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 8

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    9 - 13

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Tree

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun

  • Height

    45'-60' / 13.7m - 18.3m

  • Width

    20'-35' / 6.1m - 10.7m

  • Bloom Time

    Fall, Late Fall, Early Winter

  • Native To

    South America, Argentina

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Oval/Rounded

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White, Ivory

  • Fruit Color

    Tan, Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green

  • Bark Color

    Green, Dark Green, Gray

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Coarse

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    Yes

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Feature Plant, Shade Trees, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    Yes

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No