Pseudobombax ellipticum

  • Pseudobombax_ellipticum


Pseudobombax ellipticum is a caudex-forming tree that makes a spectacular centerpiece to any tropical themed succulent garden.

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Pseudobombax ellipticum

  • Names and Synonyms:  
    Bombax ellipticum, Pseudobombax fastuosum, Pachira fastuosa, Pseudobombax mexicanum
  • Common Names:  
    Shaving Brush Tree, Amapolla Tree
  • Family:  
  • Origin:  
    Pseudobombax ellipticum is native to southern Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras where it can typically be found growing in dry and rocky locations.
  • Height:  
  • Width:  
  • Cold Tolerance:  
    25 to 30°F; -3.9 to -1.1°C
  • Heat Tolerance:  
    High heat tolerance
  • Light Requirement:  
    Light shade to full sun.
  • Water needs:  
    Some drought tolerance but prefers irrigation in hot summer months for best growth and flowering. Very little water is needed in winter when the tree is dormant.
  • Maintenance:  
    Prune as desired. It is best pruned right after flowering before the leaves emerge.
  • Uses:  
    This caudex-forming tree makes a spectacular centerpiece to any tropical themed succulent garden. Pseudobombax ellipticum can also be grown in pots and trained as a fascinating Bonsai subject. This tree is interesting year round, with smooth green bark and a picturesque structure when deciduous in winter, in spring striking neon-pink to white flowers burst from cigar-like buds, and in summer foliage opens red and eventually turning bright apple green.
  • Propagation:  
    This tree can be propagated from woody stem cuttings or hardwood cuttings. It can also be grown from seed.
  • Problems:  
  • Special notes:  
    This is a highly ornamental tree reaching 40’ in its native habitat, but usually much smaller to shrublike in California gardens. Leaves are large, palmate and tropical in appearance. It is fairly easy to grow, but it needs to be protected from cold weather and frosts. Flowers emerge from 6” dark buds on leafless stems and last only a day. Mature trees make excellent shade trees in warmer climates. This tree can be grown as a large caudex-forming bonsai when pruned accordingly. The caudex is very interesting with a tortoise shell like pattern of gray and bright green bark. Note that pot-grown plants are very sensitive to hot summer sun and should be protected. This plant was used by the Mayans and is depicted in their art. Its seed can be toasted and eaten and the fruit fibers (kapok) were used for batting and insulation. It is planted as a living fence in Central America.