Saturday, April 4, 2009

Bombax Tree Blossom

This gigantic Bombax tree is just outside the St Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts. Until a few days ago, I mistakenly called it a Kapok tree, which people commonly call this tree. My friend, Jim, corrected me on the name. Although they are in the same family, the flowers look totally different. So, Jim is correct; it is a Bombax tree.

Below, you'll see one the beautiful flowers that has fallen on the ground. At the back of the flower, there's this heavy little button shaped thing (sorry, my botany is really bad) that is very heavy. It keeps the blossoms from falling on their side, or upside down. I'm sure there is a reason for this, but I don't know what it is. Maybe one of my readers can elighten us all.

The blossom is not fragrant, but it is very meaty, so it lives a long time after it falls from the tree. It's really beautiful to see hundreds of blossoms covering the ground, but a little sad as well. It means the tree will no longer be in bloom.

This tree is a favorite site for photographers and models alike because of its shape and size. I know I've used it as a setting for a model shoot or two in the past and it worked out great. The fallen blossoms are very pretty when the model either plays with them in her hands or puts them in her hair.

There used to be a restaurant in Clearwater called the Kapok Tree that was built around one of these trees. When the tree was in bloom, the flowers were used for garnishes for tropical drinks and on plates. It's too bad the restaurant closed. It's now a music store, but the gardens are still there.
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