Origin and Habitat: It is native of Southern Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El salvador and Nicaragua, and has been introduced in caribbean (Cuba, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Hawaiian islands, Florida and elsewhere in tropical countries
Altitude: From sea level to 5,905 ft (1,800 m)
Habit: Grows in dry and rocky habitats or poor soils and is shade intolerant.
Description: Pseudobombax ellipticum, best known as Bombax ellipticum, is a fabulously attractive fast-growing deciduous tree with a smooth green caudiciform trunk that can reach 18(-20) m in height. Coveted for it's unique brush-like flowers in late winter, the leaves are an attraction as well. This is a fine shade tree as well as a show stopper bloomer suitable for bonsai treatment as well.
Trunk: Smooth, green marbled with gray, semi-succulent up to 1.3 m in diameter often bulging and specialized for water storage. Its branches are close to the base and the new twigs are bright green.
Leaves: Long-stalked, alternate, palmately compound and articulated, with 3-6 (mostly 5) oval leaflets 10-22 cm long. New leaves are a quite attractive deep maroon color and turn a fine green as they get older.
Flowers: Single or aggregate inflorescences (short cymes), 15-20 cm across, clustered at ends of branches before leaves; petals long and liner, pubescent on the outside, white to purple that separate and curl back to frame a cluster with hundreds of bright silky pink purple stamens topped with yellow pollen. The stamens are usually shorter than the petals, but up to up to 15 cm long, forming a tube in 2 concentric rings with only the bases fused (like a comb). The stamens are loosely clustered in 5 groups in each ring. There is also a white flowered form (forma alba).
Blooming season: Winter to early spring. (December-March). The flowers open at night and fall off some time in the day and only last for the one day.
Fruit: Elongated, dehiscent capsules 15-25 cm long, by 2.5-3.5 cm in diameter, yellow-brown, glabrous, containing numerous seeds. The fruit contain a fluffy fiber around the seeds and rippens in January-February in his native regions.
Seeds: The seeds are wind dispersed.
Cultivation and Propagation: This magnificent flowering tree is an excellent growers and extremely easy to take care. If planted in a tropical area with good soil and given plenty of water it can get really big but it can also make a great houseplants. If kept potted and trimmed the tree can be kept around 3 ft (1 m) in height.
A caudex will form (fat base) sometimes resembling a turtle shell. Pseudobombax are grown in full to partial sun.
Watering: It like plenty of water. Never let it dry out completely or you'll have a dead plant. Then again, don't over water either or you'll have a rotten one. It is a deciduous tree and will lose its leaves in the winter. It should be kept a little dry at this time. In the spring, summer and early autumn you should increase the water.
Hardines: It is a tender tropical species that should survive minimum temperatures down to 19°F (-7°C) for short periods of time (especially if dry) but it is best to protect it when the temperatures fall below 32°F (0°C). If you live in frost prone areas than you have to grow it in pots. Its very sensitive to hot summer sun while kept as a potted plant.
Pruning: After the flowers are gone, the leaves will sprout and if it is needed you can trim the tree. This plant like to grow as a tree and don't need any pruning, but you may cut every year the branches so the trunk base (caudex) would get larger.
Propagation: It is propagated by seeds and cuttings. Seeds are capable of germinating under partial shade but will eventually die without direct sunlight. The cuttings, 16-40 in (40-100 cm) in length and 1-2 in (2-5 cm) in diameter, are easily rooted when planted in bags of sand and watered daily or when planted directly in the field.
"Pseudobombax ellipticum" Text available under a CC-BY-SA Creative Commons Attribution License. www.llifle.com 14 Nov. 2005. 07 Mar 2021. </Encyclopedia/TREES/Family/Bombacaceae/17831/Pseudobombax_ellipticum>