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H. G. Richter and M. J. Dallwitz

Ceiba pentandra Gaertn. (Ceiba, fromager)

Nomenclature etc. BOMBACACEAE. Syn.: C. thonningii A. Chev., Eriodendron anfractuosum DC., Bombax pentandrum L. Trade and local names: fromager(DE, FR), ceiba (DE, GB, NG, ES), Fuma (DE, BE, AO, LR, CG, CD), "Baumwollbaum" (DE), cottonwood (GB), bulele (CD, BE), enia (CI, GH), capoquier (FR), bouma, doum, ogouma (G), onyina (GH), bentegnie (SN), kankanteri (NL), araba, egungun, okha (NG), ghe (NG, LR) banda (LR), polon (PT); Amerika: ceiba (US, sAm), pain de seda (BR), seiba (CU), kumaka (GY), yasche (HN), ceiba blanca (CO), pochotl (MX), ceibón, poxote (NI), ceiba juca, ceibo jabillo (VE); Asien: imbul (LK), randoe (IN), ko, roko (KH), kabu, mengkapas (MY), nun (TH). Not protected under CITES regulations.

Tree. Geographic distribution: India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indomalesia, Pacific Islands, Australia, tropical Africa, Mexico and Central America, Caribbean, and tropical South America.

General. Growth ring boundaries distinct. Growth ring boundaries demarcated by latewood with lower vessel frequency, thicker-walled fibres and marginal parenchyma. Heartwood basically brown to yellow to white or grey. Sapwood colour similar to heartwood colour. Density 0.16–0.26–0.4 g/cm³.

Vessels. Wood diffuse-porous. Vessels in multiples, commonly short (2–3 vessels) radial rows. Average tangential vessel diameter 145–245–360 µm. Average number of vessels/mm² 1–3(–10). Average vessel element length 320–610 µm. Perforation plates simple. Intervessel pits alternate, average diameter (vertical) 10–11 µm, not vestured. Vessel-ray pits with reduced borders or apparently simple, rounded or angular, of uniform size or type. Tyloses in vessels present (few), thinwalled.

Tracheids and fibres. Fibres of medium wall thickness. Average fibre length 1400–1790–2850 µm. Fibre pits common in both radial and tangential walls, simple to minutely bordered.

Axial parenchyma. Axial parenchyma rarely banded or not banded. Axial parenchyma apotracheal and paratracheal. Apotracheal axial parenchyma diffuse-in-aggregates. Paratracheal axial parenchyma vasicentric. Axial parenchyma as strands. Average number of cells per axial parenchyma strand 2–4.

Rays. Rays 3–12 per tangential mm, multiseriate (also if only few), 2–5–8 cells wide. Rays composed of a single cell type (homocellular), or two or more cell types (heterocellular); homocellular ray cells procumbent. Heterocellular rays with square and upright cells restricted to marginal rows, mostly 1 marginal row of upright or square cells or mostly 2–4 marginal rows of upright or square cells. Sheath cells present. Vertically fused rays common.

Storied structures. Storied structure present (often indistinct), rays not storied, axial parenchyma storied, vessel elements storied, fibres storied. Number of ray tiers per axial millimetre 2–2.5.

Secretory structures. Intercellular canals absent.

Mineral inclusions. Crystals present, prismatic, located in ray cells and axial parenchyma cells. Crystal-containing ray cells upright and/or square or procumbent. Crystals in procumbent ray cells not in radial alignment. Crystal-containing axial parenchyma cells not chambered. Number of crystals per cell or chamber one. Silica not observed.

Illustrations. • Tree. Ceiba pentandra. • Wood surface. Ceiba pentandra. • Transverse section. Ceiba pentandra. • Tangential section. Ceiba pentandra. Note difference in ray size in different specimens. • Radial section. Ceiba pentandra.


The interactive key allows access to the character list, illustrations, full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting specified attributes, summaries of attributes within groups of taxa, and geographical distribution.

Cite this publication as: ‘Richter, H.G., and Dallwitz, M.J. 2000 onwards. Commercial timbers: descriptions, illustrations, identification, and information retrieval. In English, French, German, Portuguese, and Spanish. Version: 25th June 2009. http://delta-intkey.com’.

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