Friday, April 2, 2010


While walking through Kailua last week, I passed a tree with the most unusual blossoms. I had never seen these before. Hot pink fuzzy type flowers that looked like they could have come from
Dr. Seuss’s “Who~Ville”!

I was determined to find out what type of tree this was, and as luck would have it, the owner of the house came walking up the driveway.
“Do you happen to know what type of tree this is?"
He did not seem surprised, and must have been asked this question several times before, because he sure had his facts. I listened as he rattled them off.

“This is what’s known as a Bombax Tree”.
(Sure sounded like something Dr. Seuss
would have thought up!!)
“It comes from Mexico. It will lose all of it’s leaves and then flower for about three months in early spring.”

He picked up a blossom off the ground. It looked like something you would dust with! He then went on to say that the wood is very soft and the tree grows quite rapidly. In fact, he was starting to worry about his, as it was planted close to the house and he didn’t want it disturbing the foundation.

He also said that the flowers attract a lot of bees. On closer examination of the blossom, you could see small balls of pollen on the tip of each and every strand (stamen) of the flower. He gave me an entire lesson on it’s growing conditions and life cycle. He sure did know a lot about this tree. I think he was very proud of his Bombax!

These flowers make beautiful and unusual floral arrangements. And now that I am aware of the Bombax (this variety is known as “Pseudobombax ellipticum" or the “Shaving Brush Tree” – how appropriate!!), I seem to notice them more and more around the Island, although they are still fairly rare here.

After doing some online research, I found that they can be easily propagated from a stem cutting, much like I had done with my “Tahiti Dream” Plumeria Tree. Indead, the actual tree trunk itself did kind of resemble a Plumeria Tree.

Hmmm…..... Maybe I will have to give the Bombax a try!

CLICK HERE to find out more


LisaBongZee's Island Dream Life Website


Valerie Boersma said...

So pretty, and yet another example of the beautiful plants you can grow in Hawaii. When I looked at your link to the nursery, I noticed the Bombax can survive only to temps of 20 degrees-so I have to cross it off my list of beauties to grow in my own garden, (or maybe they would still look pretty frozen solid too?) But thanks for posting such gorgeous photos of the "shaving brush tree" and thanks for the info too!

Sew it my way! said...

The flower is simular to what we call a mimosa tree we can grow here on the east coast only it doesn't lose it leaves and the flowers are much smaller. I will keep an eye out for it the next time we are on the island. Beautiful, Thanks for sharing! Georgina

Lily Pang said...

Very beautiful tree. It has no leaves and the flowers and branches are more attractive.

Audrey said...

Wonder how well this lovely tree would do in Orlando, FL. Most unusual and definitely gorgeous!!

We have a tree here called "Bottlebrush" that has unusual blooms like the brush used to clean baby bottles.

AudreyGardenLady at etsy

Annette said...

How beautiful! I wouldn't expect anything less from Hawaii!!!

Schar Freeman said...

Beautiful blossoms and I love the magenta color. Reminds me of our Lahua blossoms some...cept those are red.