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CHORISIA speciosa

Image of Chorisia speciosa

Mark A. Miller

Family

Bombacaceae

Botanical Name

CHORISIA speciosa

Plant Common Name

Chorisia, Floss Silk Tree, Silk Floss Tree

General Description

This medium to large deciduous tree is distinguished by its swollen, prickly trunk and its large colorful late-season flowers. It is native to semi-arid forests of Brazil and Argentina.

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

Grow silk floss tree in full sun in fertile, 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 speciosa is well suited as a specimen tree for a campus or park. Selections include 'Los Angeles Beautiful', which produces wine-red blossoms, and 'Majestic Beauty', which has bold, rosy pink blossoms and few spines.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 5

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    9 - 15

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Tree

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    40'-65' / 12.2m - 19.8m

  • Width

    40'-50' / 12.2m - 15.2m

  • Bloom Time

    Late Fall, Early Winter

  • Native To

    South America, Argentina, Brazil

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought, Salt

  • 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

    Purple, Pink, Rose, Burgundy, Ivory

  • Flower Color Modifier

    Bicolor

  • Fruit Color

    Brown, Sandy Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green

  • Bark Color

    Green, Light Green, Gray Green, Sandy Brown

  • 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

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • 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